May 25, 2012

Book Club!

I finally read another book & so I'm linking up!

Last week I finished:
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 beguiling and deeply felt debut.
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.

My mom heard about this book & ordered it off Amazon (a huge accomplishment for her!) in English so that  I would read it too. I'm not normally a short-story reader but I figured this was culturally relevant so I should probably read it. At the very least, to please my mom. ;)

I'm really glad that I read it. It's not so much that I really enjoyed it all (there were some stories that I found to be somewhat pointless) but nearly every story resonated in some way. Whether it was because it reminded  me of a personal situation or I could really understand where the character was coming from, it was real to me.

Of course, the author saved the best for last and it was definitely my favourite story. I think a large part of that is that the author finally defined in English what I have been unable to define for myself for the last couple of months. A single Bulgarian word that speaks volumes.

"Yad is what lines the inside of every Bulgarian soul. It's yad that propels us like a motor onward. Yad is like envy, but it's not simply that. It's like spite, rage, anger but more elegant, more complicated. It's like pity for someone, regret for something you did or did not do, for a chance you missed, for an opportunity you squandered. All those feelings in one beautiful word."

I won't explain right now why this 'yad' has had such a hold on me for the last couple of months but it was enough of a relief to finally have it defined in a way that I couldn't, for me to be able to start dealing with it a little bit more. That in itself made this book a worthwhile read for me.
If you enjoy books or stories about other cultures, this is an easy and definitely good read that I would surely recommend!

Happy Weekend!

1 comment :

  1. love it! Check my blog darling and maybe you wanna follow each other! XoXo


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