East of the West by Miroslav Penkov
A Country in Stories

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 14 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

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.
 

About Miroslav Penkov

See more books from this 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.
 
Published June 21, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 240 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for East of the West

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Often these stories link the banality of day-to-day survival to the magic of Bulgarian myth, as in the final story, “Devshirmeh,” about a divorcé father telling his daughter the story of a blood tribute.

| Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Bulgarians, both at home and abroad, are the subject of the wistful, tragic, and funny stories in this impressive debut.

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

And "Devshirmeh" tells of the life of a Bulgarian man who wins a green card in the lottery, comes to the U.S. with his wife and infant daughter but now lives the life of a divorced father who barely makes ends meet.

Jun 03 2012 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Set in part in the 1970s, the story tells of a romance between a boy and a girl on opposite sides of the river.

Jun 03 2012 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

AV Club

See more reviews from this publication

The standout story, “A Picture With Yuki,” depicts a baggage handler at O’Hare and his Japanese wife traveling to his Bulgarian hometown to seek fertility treatment, with Penkov negotiating many levels of foreigners: the narrator seeing his home through the eyes of a returning immigrant, his wife...

Aug 03 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Dallas News

He pleads on the final page of his first book to “forgive me, beautiful Bulgarian tongue, for telling stories in a foreign tongue, a tongue that is now sweet and close to me.” A story collection, East of the West, provides eight case studies in yad, which one character describes as a uniquely Bu...

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

A young man -- he was born in Bulgaria in 1982 -- Miroslav Penkov possesses an old soul.

Aug 22 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Fiction Writers Review

Bulgarian-American author Miroslav Penkov’s debut short story collection East of the West (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) comes at a time when his native country’s literary star is on the rise in the west.

| Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Fiction Writers Review

Last week we featured East of the West, by Miroslav Penkov, as our Book-of-the-Week title, and we’re pleased to announce the winners.

Dec 06 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Fiction Writers Review

He completed a bachelor’s degree in Psychology followed by an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas, and now teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is a fiction editor for the American Literary Review.

Nov 29 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Fiction Writers Review

After all Turks are ordered to take Bulgarian names, he is taken away from his home (whether to imprisonment or death we never know) and his daughter takes up his ethno-historical conflict: Sometimes Kemal took her bagpipe above the village to play with the echo.

Oct 27 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Full Stop

If I were to list here the number of different things that Miroslav Penkov’s East of the West taught me about Bulgaria, you might mistakenly think this debut collection of short stories was an academic historical text.

Dec 20 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

M/C Anderson

M/C Reviews Create an account Home Your Account Submit Review Top 10 Main Menu M/C Reviews 'events' 'screens' 'sounds' 'style' 'words' Feature Issues What's On Your Account Send Reviews Statistics To...

Apr 12 2012 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Prague Post

The era of Western infatuation with Central and East European literature was both sparked and signaled by "A Conversation in Prague," Philip Roth's cover story on Ivan Klíma in the New York Review of Books April 12, 1990.

Nov 03 2011 | Read Full Review of East of the West: A Country i...

Reader Rating for East of the West
95%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 21 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×