East Of The West – Miroslav Penkov

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Chosen by Becks

◉ “I was initially put off reading this book as I don’t particularly like short stories – they usually seem to be too short and I am often left wanting more. However this collection has me converted – a great mix of tragedy, sadness and humour with loads of great historical and cultural references. All of the 8 stories are enjoyable but particularly for me, East of the West is the most memorable.” – Jo

◉ “I’ve never really read short stories. Never really ‘got’ them. But this compilation has shifted my thinking. Not only did I read and relish each one with much pleasure, but I read more than one in one sitting, so taken by them was I! I loved the quirk and twist, the clever characterisation (loved the odd-balls), the socio-political commentary (insights into the communist era) and humour (dark,and twisted or light and quirky).  Sometimes, sad, sometimes tragic, somtimes weird, but always surprising, this book is one that I will recommend.” – Sonya

◉ “East of the West is now my favourite short story collection! I’m not usually a fan of this genre – I invest myself so fully into characters that taking leave of them so quickly and starting again with a new set is like a break up! However, Penkov manages to encapsulate all the ups and downs and depth of a novel into each of his short stories. At the completion of each I was satiated and ready to move on to the next. Each tale utilises a different type of humour, is thought provoking and educational. The writer makes clear his separation anxieties about his motherland of Bulgaria and his adopted home of the US, but manages to link the two lives, too. He liberates his emotions in a complete and unforgettable voice.” – Rachel

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Published 2012
Picador
240 pages

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