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Stork Mountain

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Stork Mountain tells the story of a young Bulgarian immigrant who, in an attempt to escape his mediocre life in America, returns to the country of his birth. Retracing the steps of his estranged grandfather, a man who suddenly and inexplicably cut all contact with the family three years prior, the boy finds himself on the border of Bulgaria and Turkey, a stone's throw away from Greece, high up in the Strandja Mountains. It is a place of pagan mysteries and black storks nesting in giant oaks; a place where every spring, possessed by Christian saints, men and women dance barefoot across live coals in search of rebirth. Here in the mountains, the boy reunites with his grandfather. Here in the mountain, he falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. Old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts, in the name of faith and doctrine, blaze anew.

Stork Mountain is an enormously charming, slyly brilliant debut novel from an internationally celebrated writer. It is a novel that will undoubtedly find a home in many readers' hearts.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 21, 2015 – This first novel from Penkov (author of the story collection East of the West) is about a boy who leaves America for the desolate borderlands of Bulgaria in search of his grandfather. Looking for a way to pay his debts, he returns to the village of Klisura, on the Bulgarian side of the Turkish border, to find out why his grandfather fled the U.S. and his family, and to claim an inheritance he believes is his. The young man discovers a place where exiled Christians dance on fire in honor of their saints, where Muslims were converted and given new names by a cynical Communist regime, and where storks come each spring to bear their own young in giant walnut trees. The village is steeped in mysteries and vendettas. The boy absorbs the folklore and also begins to glean his grandfather's tragic involvement in Klisura's troubled past, "like stepping stones that lead you to yourself." The boy falls in love with Elif, the daughter of the local imam with whom Grandpa has a long-standing feud, meeting her in secret in a stork's nest in the trees. He plots to save Elif from her abusive father, and to rescue Elif's little sister, who is sick with a fever believed to be induced by the nestinari, the Christians who dance on fire. That the boy ends up finding himself within his grandfather's story, among the gnarled and mystical roots growing out of ancient Christianity, Islam, and communism, is the great reward of this searing, heartfelt novel. This book is rich, enmeshing the personal with the political and historical, told in strange and vertiginous language that seems fitting for a tale of such passion.
Stork Mountain
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 15, 2016
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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