Miroslav Penkov - Stork Mountain - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473622180
    • Publication date:10 Mar 2016

Stork Mountain

By Miroslav Penkov

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A captivating, slyly brilliant debut by the award-winning author of East of the West

In his mesmerising first novel, the internationally celebrated short-story writer Miroslav Penkov spins the intriguing tale of an American student who returns to Bulgaria, the country he left as a child. His mission is to track down his grandfather and to find out why he suddenly cut off all contact with the family three years before.

The trail leads him to a remote village on the border with Turkey, a stone's throw away from Greece, high up in the Strandja Mountains - a place of pagan mysteries and storks nesting in giant oaks; a place where every spring, possessed by Christian saints, men and women dance barefoot across live coals in search of rebirth. Here in the mountains, he is drawn by his grandfather into a maze of half-truths. And here, he falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. Old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts blaze anew, until the past finally yields up its plangent secrets.

Biographical Notes

Miroslav Penkov was born in 1982 in Bulgaria. He moved to the United States in 2001 on a scholarship to study psychology at the University of Arkansas, where he subsequently gained an MFA in creative writing.

His stories have won the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award and The Southern Review's Eudora Welty Prize and have appeared in journals and anthologies including Granta, The Best American Short Stories (edited by Salman Rushdie and Heidi Pitlor) and The PEN / O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. Published in more than a dozen countries, his collection East of the West was a finalist for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction.

Penkov teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is the editor-in-chief of the American Literary Review.

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  • ISBN: 9781473622197
  • Publication date: 10 Mar 2016
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Sceptre
An intelligently mapped plot complements the skilful blend of familial relationships with religious commentary . . . This is a historically rich study of borders: those imposed by cartography and those that are self-constructed. — Zoë Apostolides, Financial Times
Penkov uses classic narrative forms as a springboard for a dark, dreamlike debut novel steeped in Balkan history and legend . . . The characters' lives are beautifully interwoven with ancient tales and family histories, all deeply rooted in the landscape of the Strandja Mountains, home of black storks, fire dancers, and worshippers of pagan saints . . . a beautiful and haunting novel — Hilary Rice, Chicago Review of Books
To the honor roll of the Bulgarian literary diaspora, add Miroslav Penkov, who writes sumptuous English . . . what the Great Bulgarian Novel could be if it could be rendered in English. — Stephen G Kellman, Dallas Morning News
Wildly ambitious . . . thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a passionate faith in the redemptive powers of art. — Wendy Smith, Boston Globe
[A] searing, heartfelt novel . . . rich, enmeshing the personal with the political and historical, told in strange and vertiginous language that seems fitting for a tale of such passion. — Publishers Weekly
A Bulgarian Don Quixote fighting windmills, his Sancho Panza a lost American grandson, and Dulcinea a Turk overfond of smoking dope. Add a smattering of Christian firewalkers, a touch of Muslim clerics, thousands of hysterical storks who deliver more secrets than babies. What you get is a marvel of a novel. Penkov has written a rollicking, poignant delight. — Rabih Alameddine, National Book Award Finalist and author of An Unnecessary Woman.
I can't speak to Miroslav Penkov's standing among Bulgarian novelists, but now that I've read STORK MOUNTAIN, it is easy to say that Penkov is my favorite novelist publishing in America. — Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk
Miroslav Penkov writes with warmth, wit and emotional precision, and STORK MOUNTAIN is a gorgeous and big-hearted novel that manages to be both a page-turning adventure story and a nuanced meditation on the meaning of home . . . a fantastic book. — Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
STORK MOUNTAIN is a timely novel when Europe - its entangled past and its uncertain future - occupies the headlines; it is a timeless tale too about the undying and undead, about dreams not paled by reality, and above all, about a young man's search for an answer by searching for the right question. What a tremendous achievement from one of the best young international writers. — Yiyun Li, author of Kinder Than Solitude
Sceptre

East of the West

Miroslav Penkov
Authors:
Miroslav Penkov

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Ali Knight

Ali Knight has worked as a journalist and sub-editor at the BBC, Guardian and Observer and helped to launch some of the Daily Mail and Evening Standard's most successful websites. She lives with her family in London.Visit Ali's website to find out more about her and her psychological thrillers at www.aliknight.co.uk and follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/aliknightauthor.

Anne-Marie Casey

Anne-Marie Casey was a script editor and producer of prime-time television drama for ten years before becoming a writer full time. She has written scripts for films and television series in the UK and in Ireland and her stage adaptation of Little Women was staged at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 2011. An Englishwoman in New York, her first book, was inspired by her experiences living in Manhattan with her family and her love/love relationship with the City. She is married to the novelist, Joseph O'Connor. They now live in Dublin, Ireland with their two sons.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

Austin Grossman

Austin Grossman is a video game design consultant and the author of SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE. He lives in Berkeley. You can visit his website at austingrossman.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Grossman.

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Bernardine Bishop

The great-granddaughter of the poet Alice Meynell, Bernardine Bishop was the youngest witness in the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. After writing two early novels, she taught in a London comprehensive school for ten years and then had a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, during which she brought up her two sons. Cancer forced her retirement in 2010 and she returned to her first love, fiction. Bernardine Bishop lived in London with her husband, until her death in July 2013.

Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. COLD MOUNTAIN, his highly acclaimed first novel, was an international bestseller, selling over one million copies and winning the National Book Award in 1997. It was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Renee Zellweger.A second novel, THIRTEEN MOONS, was published by Sceptre in 2007 and NIGHTWOODS, Charles' latest novel set in a lakeside town in 1960s North Carolina, was published in September 2011. To find out more, visit Charles' Facebook page www.facebook.com/CharlesFrazierAuthor or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Charles_Frazier.

Christina Hopkinson

Christina Hopkinson is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Times, Grazia and Red magazine. She lives in London with her husband and three children.Visit Christina's website at www.christinahopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter @Xtinahopkinson.

Claire Lorrimer

Claire Lorrimer wrote her first book at the age of twelve, encouraged by her mother, the bestselling author Denise Robins. After the Second World War, during which Claire served on secret duties, she started her career as a romantic novelist under her maiden name, Patricia Robins. In 1970 she began writing her magnificent family sagas and thrillers under the name Claire Lorrimer. She is currently at work on her seventy-first book. Claire lives in Kent.

Daniel Polansky

Daniel Polansky was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He can be found in Brooklyn, when he isn't somewhere else. His debut novel, THE STRAIGHT RAZOR CURE, received great acclaim. TOMORROW, THE KILLING is the second novel in his 'Low Town' series, with the third publishing in 2013.

Deon Meyer

Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Deon Meyer's books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages.THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa - the first time in the prize's 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold.Deon has also written two television series, and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film The Last Tango.Visit the author's website at www.deonmeyer.com and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

Edith Pearlman

Edith Pearlman's collection, Binocular Vision, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize. The author of three other collections, she has also received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story. Her widely admired stories have been reprinted numerous times in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Pushcart Prize. A New Englander by both birth and preference, Pearlman lives with her husband in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Edward Kelsey Moore

Edward Kelsey Moore lives in Chicago with his partner of many years. Having trained with some of the world's finest musicians, he has travelled widely and recorded extensively during his lengthy career as a professional cellist. Edward's literary work often reflects both his life as a musician and his upbringing as the backsliding son of a Baptist preacher. His short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines and on Public Radio. Like Dora in THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT, Edward is also an avid gardener; like Odette, his horticultural projects are not always successful. THE SUPREMES AT EARL'S ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT is Edward Kelsey Moore's first novel. Find out more on Edward's website at www.edwardkelseymoore.com or Facebook page www.facebook.com/EdwardKelseyMooreauthor and follow him on Twitter @edkmoore.

Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand grew up in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow. She now lives with her husband and their three children on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where her novels are set.You can follow Elin on Twitter @elinhilderbrand or find out more on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/ElinHilderbrand.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.

Emily Dubberley

Emily is the founder of cliterati.co.uk, the UK's original female-focussed erotica site. She has had 27 books published internationally, including two fundraising erotica anthologies for Macmillan Cancer Support. She has written for titles including Glamour, Psychology Tomorrow, the Sunday Mirror and Cosmopolitan.

Emily Mackie

Emily Mackie was born in Winchester in 1983 and grew up in Scotland. After graduating with an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in 2007, her first novel, And This is True, was published in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize as well as the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, In Search of Solace, was published by Sceptre in 2014.

Frank Ronan

Frank Ronan was born in 1963 in Ireland. His first novel, THE MEN WHO LOVED EVELYN COTTON, won the 1989 Irish Times/Aer Lingus Literature Prize. Since then he has published several novels, as well as a collection of short stories. He has also had work published in Best Short Stories, The Best of Cosmo Fiction and the Daily Telegraph, as well as broadcast on BBC Radio 4.