Synopses & Reviews
A grandson tries to buy the corpse of Lenin on eBay for his Communist grandfather. A failed wunderkind steals a golden cross from an Orthodox church. A boy meets his cousin (the love of his life) once every five years in the river that divides their village into east and west. These are Miroslav Penkovs strange, unexpectedly moving visions of his home country, Bulgaria, and they are the stories that make up his beguiling and deeply felt debut.
In East of the West, Penkov writes with great empathy of centuries of tumult; his characters mourn the way things were and long for things that will never be. But even as they wrestle with the weight of history, with the debt to family, with the pangs of exile, the stories in East of the West are always light on their feet, animated by Penkovs unmatched eye for the absurd.
"An agile and assured debut . . . In each of these stylistically old-school yet freshly envisioned morality tales, Penkov burnishes brute circumstances to surprising beauty." —Elle "Splendid . . . These stories are not the promising work of a first-time author. They are already a promise fulfilled—wise, bright, and deep with sympathy." —Alec Solomita, The New Republic "Like Aleksandar Hemon, Ha Jin, and Edwidge Danticat, Penkov is a translingual. . . . His dexterous English prose [portrays] human beings left in limbo, without a compass." —The Dallas Morning News"Penkovs stories combine toughness, vulnerability, and bravado. . . . This is a sparkling collection." —Catherine Taylor, The Guardian (London)"A fantastic collection that lives up to its audacious subtitle . . . Penkovs writing style is clear and startling, filled with warmth and wisdom. . . . These are fearless, gutsy stories with tremendous impact." —Philadelphia City Paper
"Penkovs teeming stories accomplish in phrases what lesser writers take chapters to convey. . . . A collection of triumphs." —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times A grandson tries to buy Lenins corpse on eBay for his Communist grandfather. A failed wunderkind steals a golden cross from an Orthodox church. Every five years, a boy meets his cousin (the love of his life) in the river that divides their village into east and west. These are Miroslav Penkovs strange, unexpectedly moving visions of his home country, Bulgaria, and they are the stories that make up this beguiling and deeply felt debut. Animated by Penkovs unmatched eye for the absurd, East of the West is a brilliant portrait of a country with its own compass.
About the Author
Miroslav Penkov was born in 1982 in Bulgaria. He arrived in America in 2001 and completed a bachelors degree in psychology and an M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Arkansas. He has won the Eudora Welty Prize in Fiction, and his story “Buying Lenin” was published in The Best American Short Stories 2008, edited by Salman Rushdie. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is a fiction editor for the American Literary Review.