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.
|Kapka with her collection of Tango shoes|
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!