In Miroslav Penkov's story "Buying Lenin" the great divide the main character longs to cross is literal: it is an ocean wide, generations deep. A young eastern European man comes to America, leaving his grandfather in Bulgaria, though he is never able, finally, to escape the grandfather's voice, spirit, vitality, dominance--any more than the grandfather has ever been able to let the young narrator go. With deft humor and rich imagery, Penkov paints a moving portrait of a grandfather and grandson separated by old wounds and vast distance but inextricably bound by blood that is "thicker than the ocean."
November 15, 2006
A Lily Peter Award
"Buying Lenin" won a Lily Peter award. Here is what the judge, novelist Rilla Askew, thought of the story: