The Karakachan sheepdog is a match for any bear – but not for modern society

Kapka Kassabova is celebrated for her poetic accounts of rural communities dwelling at the margins of modernity, but also along a border zone in the southern extremity of her native Bulgaria. In her previous book, Elixir, her chosen people were the Muslim Pomaks of the Rhodope Mountains, with their ancient herbalist traditions. In Anima, she explores the world of transhumance pastoralists, known in Bulgarian as the Karakachan and in Greek as the Sarakatsani. It is not so long ago that the Greek component of this extraordinary sheep-herding tribe acquired cultural cachet in this country. American and English anthropologists hurried off to study and write about them (notably J.K. Campbell in