BkMk Press Books

King of the Gypsies


by Lenore Myka

Price: $15.95, 216 pages

ISBN: 978-1-886157-99-6, 2015

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 

Finalist, Chautauqua Prize, ForeWord Reviews Prize

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


Publisehd 2015

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