Tales from a Greek Island

Alexandros Papadiamantis, Author, Elizabeth Constantinides, Translator Johns Hopkins University Press $31.25 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8018-3333-5
The setting of these 12 tales is the Aegean island of Skiathos, the birthplace of Papadiamantis, a 19th century writer in the naturalist tradition of Hardy and Maupassant. He celebrates the folkgoatherds, weavers, olive gatherers, sailors, and ne'er-do-wellswhose fates are determined by centuries of custom, by the beauty and severity of the island and by ordinary passions. Disease, usually consumption, claims young lives, as in ""The Matchmaker,'' or in ``Civilization in the Village,'' where a doctor will not interrupt his card game at the tavern to save a child. Experience repeats the patterns of ancient myths. In ``The Haunted Bridge'' a father's superstitious need to be rid of his daughter evokes Iphigeneia's sacrifice. The sea's lure is omnipresent: ``The Homesick Wife'' shimmers with fairy-tale beauty, but often the sea takes men to the Americas, where they disappear. Revered by present-day Greek writers, Papadiamantis commands a highly accomplished narrative art and a view of humanity tinged with melancholy charm. (May 11)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-0-8018-4846-9
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