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Τρίτη 13 Μαρτίου 2012

New books by ENEKEN

A story for your own children

by Panos Theodoridis

Translated by Dimitris Thanasoulas

Except for my heartfelt recommendation that this book be read by many people and spread like a persistent virus throughout our world--a world of ideas and plants, words and concerns--I have no intention of divulging any parts of the plot to the readers of the present review. All I have to say is that a Despina Dima, a doctor, has recently been interrogated, on the grounds of an oblique allusion, so to speak, that she made to the existence of a den. Almost local Macedonian herself, her main interrogator being Papakoitsis, an apparently local Macedonian name. 
The interrogation artfully weaves together a literary material that runs through and touches upon persons that played an important role in the seven-year junta period, especially early 80’s, the moderate-turned-emotional varied relations with KKE (Greek Left-wing Party) and its branches, according to the teachings of EAM supporters, currently spruced-up anti-communists. The plot is a dominant fact in the book, while the interrogation goes through several layers: a house (on the island where Despina works) has recently been scoured; later, there will be the advent of the IMF; guerrillas in the past, now mischievous kids, not even bombers, while later even reminiscing about these events fans suspicions of crimes committed. From Testimony it can be gleaned that the only life-giving aura in post-war Greece is the maintenance and readiness of absolute folly, much akin to that of Purifoy and laptop. It is the only living, connective tissue. The foe surreptitiously turns from “gangster” to “Pakistani.” Meanwhile, modern Greeks, we, the author, the readership and their passions, are all carrying memories in vain, in hopes of their unravelling in future.
I concur with Mrs. Monti that this work is not autobiographical. As a teacher and proponent of vernacular style, I add: you bet! In the case of the pages I have just leafed though, Slavism and its branches, as well as the kinky and torturous stories of the Macedonian Slavs, are imbued with fragmented ideologies and a useful script weft. Nobody should embark on this book under the misconception that it is the local equivalent of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. They are bound to lose their bearings. In this book, there are rage, heartrending, albeit incomplete, thoughts, direct and masterful writing--laying conventional and precarious foundations. I must admit that, at times, while reading the book, I yelled, “Take this out, Mrs. Katerina!” or “Make sure you change two hundred words here and, when you rewrite them, weep, for your text is tinged with some kind of a compulsive spleen. No, you’re not a Cherokee, Basque or Chechen. You’re still on the vast, dark sea bottom. The uncharted one. Without any foam.”
In its present form, this book, truncated a bit, can be made into a film directed by Mike Leigh, while in a linear narrative form it can be successfully made into a serial starring Greek actors. Its imagery is strong, words are--justly--weak and its theories justly eviscerated before their enunciation. Mrs. Monti, a collector of written passion, can successfully try her hand at penning almost anything. Good luck to those lucky ones who are going to read it.

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