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Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story [Paperback]

Kapka Kassabova
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 July 2012
Kapka Kassabova first set foot in a tango studio ten years ago and, from that moment, she was hooked. With the beat of tango driving her on and the music filling her head, she's danced across the world, from Auckland to Edinburgh, from Berlin to Buenos Aires, putting in hours of practice for fleeting moments of dance-floor ecstasy, suffering blisters and heart-break along the way. Here, in sparkling, spring-heeled prose, Kapka takes us inside the esoteric world of tango to tell the story of the dance, from its Afro roots to its sequined stars and back. Twelve Minutes of Love is a timeless tale of exile and longing, death and desire, love and belonging.

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Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story + The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance + A Passion for Tango; A thoughtful, Provocative and Useful Guide to that Universal Body Language, Argentine Tango
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846272858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846272851
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kapka Kassabova is a poet, travel writer and novelist. She was born in 1973 in Sofia, emigrated with her family to New Zealand in her teens, and now lives in Scotland. Her childhood memoir Street Without a Name was short-listed for the 2009 Prix europeen du livre and the Dolmann Travel Club Award. Her novel Villa Pacifica is set in South America and is now also available in Spanish. The tango memoir Twelve Minutes of Love was short-listed for the 2012 Scottish Book Awards. Kapka Kassabova has written for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Scottish Review of Books, Granta, and Vogue.

Product Description

Review

An exquisitely crafted blending of travelogue, memoir, dance history and some seriously good writing on the human condition, it delves deep into the obsessive nature of tango fanatics and vividly depicts a world full of beauty and heartbreak, of love and loss ... sharp, clever and engaging, a wonderful mix of self-deprecating humour and genuine insight. Kassabova brings the people and places she encounters to life with vivid precision, and strikes a near perfect balance between her own personal experiences and the wider context of the dance. --Independent

A mesmeric memoir of love, lust and tango ... Kassabova relishes the painful blisters as much as the seductive bliss. --Maire Claire

A touching and insightful chronicle of a ten year obsession that dragged her around the world and back again by the heartstrings. Kassabova is that rare thing, an author who excels in every genre. --Scotsman

About the Author

KAPKA KASSABOVA was born in Bulgaria in 1973 and now lives in Edinburgh. She is the author of two poetry collections, two travel guides, numerous travel essays, the novel Villa Pacifica (2011) and the acclaimed memoir Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (2008). She has written for the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Vogue, and Granta.com. www.twelveminutesoflove.com

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, honest, funny and touching 4 Nov 2011
By Sofakat
Format:Hardcover
For those of us who found and fell in love with tango the journey was/is never easy. You think it's just a dance, but it's not. You make all kinds of assumptions, expect everything to fall into place and fit you, but it doesn't. All teachers must be good. No, they're not. some are charlatans, other mad egotists! Even those of us who are ex dancers, who learn quickly and can adapt, find tango frustrating, elusive, complex and at times irritating beyond endurance.

And then there are the tango people - the very good, the bad and the plain mad. I read this because I was hoping that some of what I experienced whilst learning tango was not my imagination running riot. I wanted someone else to tell me her story. Was I seeing things? Did every woman feel like this?

If you love tango, read this book. Kapka Kassabova is a wonderful writer - direct, honest, funny, beguiling and very observant. She writes beautifully. Her descriptions of milongas are fascinating: you will recognise some of the characters with a sigh - or maybe a groan. Women will read and think 'oh, I know that man. It's not just me then' and feel vindicated. You will recognise what we all do when we find the perfect leader, that elusive connection that just simply works, even though it comes such unlikely partners, and often when we least expect it.

I loved her descriptions of Buenos Aires, Marseilles, Paris and Berlin - all the places I have ever wanted to dance. I don't want to recap the story or tell you about the journey. Discover it for yourself. I just want to say, read this book and you'll see why I am recommending it so highly, as another tango addict but also another writer. And God knows we're fussy about what we read!

This book is wonderful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tango - the Dance of Exile 17 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Have you ever danced at a Milonga? Do you know what a Gancho is? Ever had a Tangasm? If so, then it's very likely you're a Tango addict like Kapka Kassabova. If the answer's no, then prepare to be informed, moved, seduced and entertained.

Kapka Kassabova is a wonderful poet and the author of a previous memoir, `Street without a Name', about growing up in Communist Bulgaria. That story ends as the Kassabova family leave Bulgaria for the UK and New Zealand. When Twelve Minutes of Love opens, Kapka is a 27 year old New Zealander, with no sense of belonging anywhere, and a permanent sense of what the Portuguese call `Saudade' - a state of longing, homesickness and displacement; the condition of the exile.

Straying into a club one evening to meet friends, Kapka hears Tango for the first time, watches a couple dance it, and becomes hooked. Tango was created in South America by exiles, displaced people living outside the fringes of society. It's a hybrid, a sinuous, seductive mongrel - a music that was in perfect synchronicity with Kapka's mood at the time.

Soon, she was discovering that there are tango relationships and other relationships and the two don't always mix. The perfect partner in one life may have two left feet in the other. Kapka began travelling the world in search of tango - Auckland, Argentina, Berlin, Edinburgh, Marseilles - and the book describes her relationships and the extraordinary cast of characters she meets in what Kapka believes to be a search for new tango experiences, but which is in fact a search for who she is and where she belongs. And, yes, it does have a happy ending.

This is a beautifully crafted memoir that uses the structure of the music as a structure for the book. It's a brilliant read and Kapka Kassabova obviously dances as well as she writes. I'm jealous!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yo no soy Tangoista! 19 Nov 2011
By Lindsey
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book. I loved the rhythms, cadences, pauses, colours of language. I loved the way it made me feel; smiling, searching, longing. I loved its teaching on Tango and on love. I loved the way it helped me to learn about Tango and about being, and about love. I love that it taught me that in my heart I am a dancer. It was difficult to put this book down, even when Saturday evening came around and "Strictly" beckoned. It's a must read book which I can't wait to return to and start all over again!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I went to a milonga last night 14 Nov 2011
By L
Format:Hardcover
Came back from Buenos Aires last week with a broken heart, I picked up this book because the title mentioned the words "Love" & "Tango", the two which I began to curse. Then I spent the whole weekend reading the book, almost non-stop!

It feels very intimate, like an old tango friend who sits at a table of a milonga where Piazzolla is playing, sharing with me what she has been through all these years with a glass of red wine. I can't recall when was the last time I felt this way reading a book.I understand Kapka, I resemble her, if you dance tango, you probably will do too. On Sunday night I brushed my dancing shoes, went to the milonga where I used to go again.

I appreciate the journey that the author has shared with me. I will definitely check out her other books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my kind of reading 13 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Despite reading a preview of this book before buying it, I could not get to grips with it at all. May try again in a few months.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as peomised 1 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover
The delivery was perfect as always with amazon. The book is just as promised-entertaining read, engaging imagination, a micture between documentary and emotional fiction. I would recommend for the newbees in tango, even if you are not dancing but just listening and watching
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong sense of a journey
This is a book that is difficult to put down once you get going. You will soon join Kapka's quest to find something meaningful and stable in her life and her exploration of tango... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. M. Holley
5.0 out of 5 stars In my opinion this is the unique book that explains what tango is and...
I am going to recommend this book who is interested in Tango.No body can understand or learn tango without reading this book.Recommended to all tango lovers.
Published 9 months ago by IRFAN DONMEZ
1.0 out of 5 stars Judge it by it's cover
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. This book has a dreadful picture on the front. A large part of tango is what goes on with the feet, this is missing. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jonf
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for everyone who loves Tango
The book that only people live within Tango will understand. I am so eager to know what my life will be like after 10 years of dancing.
Published 13 months ago by Lucy Lu
5.0 out of 5 stars gift for friend
i sent this to Spain as a gift and the lady who received it was delighted. it arrived quickly and intact.
Published 15 months ago by H. Newcomb
3.0 out of 5 stars Tango
A reasonable book a few ideas from it,the sort you keep and read now and again,would recommend it as I enjoyed it.
Published 16 months ago by DAVID COLEMAN
3.0 out of 5 stars Story of a Tango enthusiast's travels.
Written from the point of view of a peripatetic Tango enthusiast, her travels in South America and in Europe, containing interesting jargon as used by the Tango "Insider",... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bob, Fareham.
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written
purchased this as a 99p special as I adore the argentine tango, what a pleasant surprise, I loved the book and the descriptions of the milongas
I dont dance but the book was... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ctj Sinclair
5.0 out of 5 stars tango
it was my monthly 'book club' read, we meet each month to be told by the 'new writing north' co-ordinator which book we will discuss next time, the author came along to the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by C Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Marred by errors
I found this a hugely enjoyable book. A real page-turner, many times it brought a smile to my face with spot-on descriptions of the kinds of people and places you get to know when... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Thomas Keenes
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