cover image Rien Ne Va Plus

Rien Ne Va Plus

Margarita Karapanou, , trans. from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. . Interlink/Clockroot, $15 (184pp) ISBN 978-1-56656-772-5

In her first English translation, Greek novelist Karapanou (1946–2008) details a complicated marriage between a successful veterinarian and an incipient writer, with several intriguing outcomes. On their wedding night, naïve bride Louise witnesses her icily handsome, urbane husband, Alkiviadis, proposition a boy in a bar. Humiliated but attracted by her husband's homosexuality, Louise is nonetheless repelled by his need to control her; what follows is a crushing divorce and, then, a suicide. But that's just the first draft; Karapanou resets her story with recombined leads and an even darker slant; in this version of events, Alkis is an adoring husband who wants a baby, and Louise is a spoiled, manipulative, self-destructive character repulsed by Alkis's offer of stability and unconditional love. Ghastly details of pregnancy and abortion alternate with charming episodes of travel and discovery, such as Louise's visit to America in mismatched company. Beginning simply, this remarkable tale escalates in conflict and complexity, and proves even more engaging the second time through. (Dec.)