A Wild Pastoral


‘A classic in the making for our times’ MONIQUE ROFFEY

‘Haunting, beautiful…Anima will live with me for a long time’ CAL FLYN

‘A beautiful book of passion and adventure… She is simply sublime’ HORATIO CLARE

The spellbinding new book by the prizewinning writer Kapka Kassabova tells the story of her time with the last moving pastoralists in Europe: a gripping portrayal of human-animal interdependence, and a plea for a different way of living.

Living with one of these communities over the course of one summer, Kassabova experiences the intensity, brutality, beauty and isolation of their existence. She witnesses the epic, orchestrated activity of transhumance – the seasonal movement of vast herds of sheep, along with shepherds and dogs. As she becomes attuned to the sacrifices inherent in this work and the rich histories that shaped this Balkan region, Kassabova finds herself drawn deeper into the tangled relationships at the heart of the small community.

Anima is an extraordinary portrayal of pastoral life, where humans and animals exist in profound interdependence. Kassabova conjures the spirit of this remarkable place with intimacy and empathy, and helps us imagine how we might all begin to heal our broken relationship with the natural world.


  • A haunting, beautiful book from what feels a darkly enchanted land. Kapka is an extraordinary writer who slips into the skin of a place. Fiercely intelligent, scalpel-sharp, at once romantic and toughly pragmatic: Anima will live with me for a long time
    Cal Flyn, author of ISLANDS OF ABANDONMENT

About the author

Kapka Kassabova

Kapka Kassabova is a poet and prose writer and, most recently, the author of Elixir (2023), To the Lake (2020) and Border (2017). Border won a British Academy Prize, the Scottish Book of the Year, Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year, the Highland Book Prize and the Prix Nicholas Bouvier. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of To the Lake won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (non-fiction). Kassabova grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and studied in New Zealand. Today she lives by a river in the Scottish Highlands. Anima is the final book in her Balkan quartet exploring the relationship between humans and their environment, following Border, To the Lake, and Elixir.
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