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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Stork Mountain

Stork Mountain

A Novel

Miroslav Penkov



Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

In Stork Mountain, a young Bulgarian immigrant returns to the country of his birth in search of his grandfather, who suddenly and unexpectedly broke contact with the family three years earlier. The trail leads him to a village on the border with Turkey, a stone’s throw away from Greece, high up in the Strandja Mountains---a place of pagan mysteries and black storks nesting in giant oaks; a place where men and women, possessed by Christian saints, dance barefoot across live coals in search of rebirth. Here in the mountains, he gets drawn by his grandfather into a maze of half-truths. And here, he falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. The past will surrender its shameful secrets, as old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts blaze anew.

Praise for Stork Mountain

“A page-turning adventure story and a nuanced meditation on the meaning of home. This is a fantastic book.”—Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

“[A] sprawling, wildly ambitious novel . . . Thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a passionate faith in the redemptive powers of art.”—The Boston Globe

“An agile and assured debut . . . In each of these stylistically old-school yet freshly envisioned morality tales, Penkov burnishes brute circumstances to surprising beauty.”—Elle

“An intelligently mapped plot complements the skillful blend of familial relationships with religious commentary, and elements of the hamlets’ folklore and rituals lend an added mystery . . . . This is a historically rich study of borders: those imposed by cartography and those that are self-constructed.”—Financial Times (London)

"Penkov's stories combine toughness, vulnerability, and bravado . . . This is a sparkling collection."—Catherine Taylor, The Guardian

“A tremendous achievement from one of the best young international writers.”—Yiyun Li, author of Kinder Than Solitude and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl


Reviews from Goodreads

Miroslav Penkov

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. He is the author of East of the West and Stork Mountain.

image of Miroslav Penkovo
Bart Michiels


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