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East of the West

East of the West

* WINNER OF THE BBC INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD 2012 *

Prepare to discover a fascinating country; a land buffeted for centuries by power-struggles and revolts, lorded over by Turks, carved up by its neighbours, and subsumed into the Soviet Union. Yet also a land of proud and resilient people, of crawfish hunters and bagpipe makers, shepherds and gypsies, in which daily life goes on. So meet the teenager who swims by night across a border river to steal a kiss from his girlfriend, the ageing man who finds a cachet of loveletters his wife has kept for sixty years, and the post-Communist girl, an avowed thief with a heart of gold.

Here are Miroslav Penkov’s beguiling, surprising and moving visions of his home country, Bulgaria: stories of people who mourn the way things were and long for what will never be, who wrestle with the weight of history, the debt to the family and the pangs of exile. And here is a remarkable new writer, who combines an eye for the absurd with great empathy to give a fresh and inspiring insight into our common humanity.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Fiction: Special Features / Short Stories

On Sale: 15th March 2012

Price: £9.99

ISBN-13: 9781444733730

Reviews

Humour, poignancy, tenderness and a deep sense of European history suffuse these lovely stories by a young Bulgarian writer of whom more will surely be heard.
<i>Sunday Telegraph</i>
I suspect that Miroslav Penkov would be a wonderful writer in any language, but lucky for us, it happens to be English, and what funny, tender, tragic, and soulful stories he spins from his adopted tongue. EAST OF THE WEST is, simply put, one of the best collections I have read in years, ambitious and accomplished enough in scope to encompass east, west, and all stations in between.
Ben Fountain, author of <i>Brief Encounters with Che Guevara</i>
Every once in a while, but no more often than that, a first book by a young writer comes along to restore a reader's faith in things. I mean big, serious things which matter, ones like memory, imagination, words, creativity and moral judgement...Rarely has such an intriguingly disparate cast been so deftly and dryly assembled...Penkov's stories are ironic without being trite, melancholic, but with a whiff of whimsy, revealing that they remain distinctly eccentric. He is a considerable, quirky, new talent.
<i>Canberra Times</i>
Miroslav Penkov has successfully trapped two elusive creatures: the absurd beauty of Eastern Europe, and the emotional paradox of self-exile from that absurdity. His sense of history, his sense of humor, and his ability to create lasting characters make this book a dark yet hilarious pleasure.
Elizabeth Kostova, author of <i>The Historian</i>
Bulgaria past and present, its magical fables, absurdist realities and political exigencies, are presented through the eyes of homesick emigrés and those who have remained. Penkov's stories combine toughness, vulnerability and bravado...he applies humour and compassion in equal measure: this is a sparkling collection.
<i>Guardian</i>
a series of superb tales of love and hate, home and homesickness, passion, exile, violence, history and humour.
<i>Bendigo Advertiser</i>
Miroslav Penkov unpacks his stories with great skill, drawing the reader so deeply into the world he has created that when the magic comes - a father wrapping his son's eyelash in a handkerchief - it knocks the wind right out of you. EAST OF THE WEST captures the moments that prove we are truly living.
Hannah Tinti, author of <i>The Good Thief</i>
These eight stories play with dimensions of Bulgaria's beleaguered past and Turkish occupation through the eyes of an endearing set of appealing and convincing characters. Exile, betrayal, courage, hope, joy, death and anguish flow through these stories.
<i>Sunday Territorian</i>
There is a kind of magic at work in East of the West, a beautiful alchemy that combines wisdom and imagery, soul and story to render, finally, the pure gold of these tales. Miroslav Penkov is an extraordinary writer. May many books follow this one.
Bret Lott, author of <i>Jewel</i> and <i>A Song I Knew by Heart</i>
WINNER OF THE BBC SHORT STORY AWARD 2012.
.
There is a kind of magic at work in East of the West, a beautiful alchemy that combines wisdom and imagery, soul and story to render, finally, the pure gold of these tales. Miroslav Penkov is an extraordinary writer. May many books follow this one.
Bret Lott, author of <i>Jewel</i> and <i>A Song I Knew by Heart</i>
Miroslav Penkov spins magical tales. There is wonderful humor here, and characters you will never forget. You will love this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Ellen Gilchrist, National Book Award-winning author of <i>A Dangerous Age</i> and <i>I Cannot Get You Close Enough</i>
Bulgaria past and present, its magical fables, absurdist realities and political exigencies, are presented through the eyes of homesick emigr?s and those who have remained. Penkov's stories combine toughness, vulnerability and bravado...he applies humour and compassion in equal measure: this is a sparkling collection.
<i>Guardian</i>
His splendid prose can be fleet, leisurely, colloquial, or formal... 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, <i>The New Republic</i>