cover image I'd Like

I'd Like

Amanda Michalopoulou, , trans. from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. . Dalkey Archive, $12.50 (129pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-493-3

A novelist and columnist for the newspaper Kathimerini , Michalopoulou has fashioned a baker's dozen of tart, experimental, grown-up stories for literary tastes. The most fully fleshed story is the title piece, in which the narrator, a weary painter trapped in a marriage to an even wearier writer, acts out her frustration upon meeting another, more exalted literary couple whose matrimonial malaise reflects her own. Many of the stories seem like tentative beginnings of novels; in “Light,” for example, an elderly widow invites her even older sister to live with her, but soon regrets her decision. “Daily life seemed meaningless to her,” the author writes of the older sister, and so she leaves, while her younger sibling takes solace from Mormon leaflets promising a paradise in which the two will be reunited. “Pointe” demonstrates how tricky the author's narrators can sometimes be, allowing the reader to believe a bored wife and mother is entertaining several lovers when the reality is much more complex. Another standout story, “The Most Wonderful Moment,” recounts the queasy meeting between an elderly “Great Writer” and the admiring woman journalist interviewing him. Michalopoulou's tales are uneven, but delightful when they hit true. (Apr.)