Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov

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There are few terra incognita left in Europe, unknown places where you can feel that magic and fairy tales are being part of everyday life. Well, one of these places is the mountain of Strandzha. This mystic mountain cast its shadows over south-eastern Bulgaria and the European part of Turkey. A forbidden zone in the times of communism, till today it is a homeland of legends, superstitions, folklore, healing herbs, prophecies and pagan gods. The centuries-old tradition of nestinarstvo (fire dancing) is still alive here – barefoot men and women carrying icons and dancing on burning coals. If you want to read a novel about such a place and feel its charm, I definitely recommend “Stork Mountain” by Miroslav Penkov. The story is built around a family drama, political implications from the communist period, but also the secrets of the community of firedancers. A young Bulgarian man comes back to his homeland after living for many years in the United States, to discover the village where his grandpa lives and fall in love with Elif, the daughter of the local imam. An intriguing novel about the mountain and its mysteries. About a Bulgarian village, where Turkish, Greek and Bulgarian cultures, Muslims and Christians live together.