East of the West

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Hodder & Stoughton, Aug 4, 2011 - Fiction - 240 pages
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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 Penkov's strange, unexpectedly moving visions of his home country, Bulgaria, and they are the stories that make up his charming, deeply felt debut collection. 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 Penkov's unmatched eye for the absurd.

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EAST OF THE WEST: A Country in Stories

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A gifted Bulgarian writer explores the history of his country in eight sharp, heartfelt stories about home. This debut collection from Penkov spotlights the best of the young (he was born in 1982 ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

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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