Back to Delphi

Ioanna Karystiani, Author
Ioanna Karystiani, trans. from the Greek by Konstantine Matsoukas. Europa, $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-60945-090-8
Open Ebook - 165 pages - 978-1-60945-109-7
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After being granted a five-day leave-of-absence from prison, a son tours the Greek town of Delphi with his mother in Karystiani's newest novel. Told in a deceptively playful voice, the narrative predominantly centers on the years leading up to the horrific crimes that land Linus Kolevas in jail. But the passages involving the early life of Linus's mother underline his turbulent upbringing: her silence in childhood due to a speech impediment, her pregnancy-induced abandonment of medical school, and the death of her alcoholic husband. Unspoken similarities are illuminated between mother and son, from their penchant for seeking out the physical imperfections of their surroundings to the toll their silent childhoods took upon their personalities. Karystiani presents a world that requires some reckoning before she depicts the inner lives of a mother and son who consider themselves thieves. Small epiphanies and aphoristic questions fuel momentum throughout: "Do we always forgive someone and then love them or do we love them first and then forgiveness follows?" Karystiani delivers a teasing character study, the cryptic scenes slowly cohere and settle into a ruminative lull, transforming plot into poetry. (Mar.)
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