Winner of the BkMk Press G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Lorraine M. López.
A new generation in Romania—with a few American friends—face communism’s ghosts with desperation and dreams.
Featured on Author's Corner
Set against a wild and haunting landscape, the short fiction in this collection spotlight the struggles of everyday individuals to overcome the ghosts they have inherited from Romania's communist past. The book won BkMk's G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by PEN/Faulkner finalist Lorraine M. López, who writes, ''Myka's characters release uncountable fibers, connecting them to one another in the linked narratives, binding them to the harshly beguiling Romania they inhabit and that inhabits them.''
''Myka’s first collection features longing, lonely characters searching for connection on unfamiliar terrains....Myka’s 11 tales effectively capture those moments in life when we find ourselves frozen at the edge of a cliff.''
''King of the Gypsies is a debut to relish and celebrate. Infused with
resonating insights, these stories animate the struggles of individuals
who are navigating life in an unfamiliar culture. Whether the condition
of foreignness is perceived as threatening or exhilarating, oppressive or
liberating, it becomes motivation in this collection to think sensitively,
boldly, and creatively about identity.''
—Joanna Scott, De Potter’s Grand Tour, The Manikin
“Beautifully realized stories of dislocation, yearning and exploration.
Lenore Myka has a way of unfolding cultures and characters in mid-flight,
flushing Romania or complicated friendships or the mysteries of people’s
inner lives quickly and skillfully to the surface. A rich and vibrant debut.”
—Dominic Smith, Bright and Distant Shores
''Lenore Myka’s work offers the reader an intimate connection to characters
who have their very lives at stake as they transcend the complex illusions
that are the outcome of hopelessness and helplessness.These are unforgettable stories of love’s last extraordinary efforts, and its first. King
of the Gypsies presents the most mercy-inspiring tragic fiction you will
likely ever read in contemporary literature.''
—Kevin McIlvoy, The Fifth Station, Little Peg, Hyssop, The Complete History of New Mexico and Other Stories
''Romania links the characters in this fascinating debut collection, but its
territory transcends a single country or history. With great empathy and
impressive range, Lenore Myka has given voice to a range of memorable
characters – the displaced and the privileged, the lost and the found –
and captured their complex longings in stories that leave you moved, unsettled
and ultimately satisfied.
—Christopher Castellani, All This Talk of Love
''Lenore Myka is a skilled craftswoman, sketching stories so
exquisite and sincere that their power is unexpected and often
fierce. She imbues each tale with candor and nuance, letting her
characters thunder forth on their own, unprotected from life’s
realities yet carried by the dream of how things could be. The
result is a portrait of Romania painted by its disenfranchised,
its émigrés, and its foreigners, that shakes off stereotypes—or
digs down to their roots—and hones in on the hopes and the
vulnerabilities that dwell in the human soul. Rarely have I felt
so quickly drawn in to a collection of short stories. Rarely have
I wanted to begin again as soon as I reached the end.
—Sarah Erdman, Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village
''The stories in Lenore Myka’s King of the Gypsies do what we
want great fiction to do—illuminate the world for us with fresh
lighting. Under Myka’s unblinking gaze, the world illuminated
is both harrowing and heart-wrenching—Romanian orphans
and street kids fighting for survival, the trafficking of teen
prostitutes by their “hubands”/pimps, American aid workers
(and American parents of adopted Romanian orphans), feeling
out of their depth while trying to help. These are stories complex
and relentless, their characters unsparingly yet empathetically
observed, the moments of quiet connection rich and startling.
Lenore Myka’s triumph is that she illuminates not just with
fresh lighting, but with lightning.''
—CJ Hribal, The Company Car and The Clouds in Memphis
''Lenore Myka’s collection of short stories, King of the Gypsies,
heralds the debut of an extraordinary writer. With compassion,
insight, breadth of knowledge, black humor, and an exquisite
use of language, Myka crosses from Romania to the United
States and back again, telling tales of characters cruelly haunted
by having lived under totalitarian rule. Each story is brimming
with wisdom about the human condition; this is an author I
would trust and follow anywhere.
—Marnie Mueller, Green Fires, The Climate of the Country, and My Mother’s Island
About the author
Raised outside of Buffalo, New York, Lenore Myka has published fiction in such journals as the Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, and the New England Review. She has won fiction awards from Cream City Review and Booth Journal, and her work has been listed as notable from Best American Short Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading. A graduate of the University of Rochester, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and Warren Wilson College’s MFA program, she served in the Peace Corps in Romania. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. King of the Gypsies is her first book.
Read Lenore's guest blog on The Quivering Pen
Read the review at Peace Corps Writers
Lenore Myka's website: www.lenoremyka.com
Interview with Lenore Myka
Hear the story "Lessons in Romanian" in The Drum
Lenore Myka and her playlist for her book on Large-Hearted Boy
Read Lenore's post at The Next Best Book Blog
Read "Lenore Myka's Tough, Scrappy Old Ladies" on Beatrice.com
Colorado Review: Jeremy Griffin reviews King of the Gypsies
Read Lenore's research noes at Necessary Fiction
An American in Italia reviews King of the Gypsies
Fiction Writers Review interviews Lenore Myka
New Pages reviews King of the Gypsies
Excellent reading for those who value meditative, beautiful storytelling.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (starred review) ...
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