East of the West Paperback – Jul 5 2011
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“These are fearless, gutsy stories with tremendous impact.”
—Philadelphia City Paper
“The reader will be forgiven for not recognizing the name of the 28-year-old Bulgarian-American writer, or for being ignorant of the plight of Bulgarians at home or abroad. East of the West may do a lot to change that because of its rich and fascinating subject matter and its author’s unmistakably large talent. . . . East of the West is about unforgettable characters in memorable situations. You are, in short, in the hands of a novice master testing his skills and the boundaries of his craft. Think of a young Alice Munro crossing paths with David Bezmozgis and Jonathan Safran Foer.”
—The Gazette (Montreal)
“Penkov’s Bulgaria is a postmodern multicultural mix, but there is also something primitive and tribal about the place. A poor, culturally divided and frankly backward country, with many of the people we meet dreaming of Western lifestyles and trying to make it to America, it nevertheless exerts an elemental force of attraction through its land, history and powerful family ties. Blood binds and blood divides but home is where the heart is.”
“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 The Good Thief
“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 The Historian
“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 in 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 Brief Encounters with Che Guevara
“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, author of A Dangerous Age
“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 more books follow this one.”
—Bret Lott, author of Jewel
About the Author
Miroslav Penkov was born in 1982 in Bulgaria. He arrived in America in 2001 and completed a bachelor’s 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.See all Product Description