East of the West

Front Cover
Doubleday Canada, Limited, Jul 5, 2011 - 240 pages
12 Reviews
A brilliant debut from a rising talent praised by Salman Rushdie, among others.

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 waters of the river that divides their village into East and West. These are some of the strange, unexpectedly moving events in talented newcomer Miroslav Penkov's vision of his home country, Bulgaria, and they are the stories that make up his extraordinary debut collection.

InEast of the WestPenkov writes with great empathy about 800 years of tumult in troubled Eastern Europe; his characters mourn the way things were and long for things that will never be. But even as the characters wrestle with the weight of history, the debt to family, and the pangs of exile, the stories themselves are light and deft, animated by Penkov's unmatched eye for the absurd. In 2008, Salman Rushdie chose Penkov's story "Buying Lenin" (which appears in this collection) for that year's Best American Short Stories, citing its heart and humour.East of the Westreveals the full realization of the brilliant potential that Rushdie recognized.

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Review: East of the West

User Review  - Ian - Goodreads

The first 4 stories were great, depicting both life in Bulgaria thru' the 20th century pre/during/post Communist rule but also life as an immigrant in the US. Thereafter they got weaker, but I still ... Read full review

Review: East of the West: A Country in Stories

User Review  - Kyle Minor - Goodreads

East of the West is my favorite of all the collections of short stories published so far in the 21st century. It's a shame that not enough people have read it, but I suspect its readership will grow ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

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 inThe 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 theAmerican Literary Review.

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