Stork Mountain – a review

We received a copy of this book for our review. All opinions are those of the reviewer

Stork Mountain

Author: Miroslav Penkov


A lovely tale of legend, truth and history intertwined with gods and love stories, family and acceptance, Stork Mountain is exquisitely original.  Luscious, lilting, longing and legend; Stork Mountain combines Bulgarian myth and historical drama with the heart of a young man returning from the United States to his birth country, Bulgaria, to seek his grandfather.  For three years, the family has heard nothing from the grandfather that left to return to Bulgaria, settling in Klisura, a small village in the Strandja Mountains on the border of Turkey and close to Greece.  Here paganism sits side by side with black storks who nest here and where an imam and a priest live side by side in poverty.   And it is here where the grandson finds his grandfather, both with hidden agendas.  The grandson owes school loans for college and is in financial difficulties way over his head in the United States and he has come to claim his heritage, twenty acres of the land his grandfather owns in Bulgaria.  The grandson wants to sell it and return to the US to pay off his debt.  However, what he finds instead is an old man who has sold the heritage, who has a feud going with the imam and who is allied with the priest, and a legend of the nestinari, fire dancers who dance on the day of Saint Kosta and Elena. And when the grandson falls in love with the Elif, the imam’s Muslim daughter grandson and grandfather replicate each one’s history as past becomes present.

Mysterious and ethereal, the pagan tales of the black storks that nest in the roofs and trees of Klistura are those of a clan of men and women who dance over hot coals in search of rebirth.  When does the past become present and how and when do we stop past mistakes and become our own persons?  As the young grandson hears finally the truths as told by his deceitful grandfather, he realizes that they are not even blood relatives and yet they are bound together just like the gods in the tales Grandfather tells.  This is an immutable and vibrant novel stunningly written that combines myth, legend, fact and history into an unforgettable tale of family, love and transcendence.

One of the best I have read all year.

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