cover image Something Will Happen, You’ll See

Something Will Happen, You’ll See

Christos Ikonomou, trans. from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. Archipelago, $18 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-0-914671-35-0

In Ikonomou’s timely novel, the human fallout of the Greek economic recession is writ large. In these 15 stories of poverty and institutional disfunction, Ikonomou’s heroes—the laboring, often-unemployed masses crushed by debt and hunger—seek solace from their debilitating realties in memory (“Charcoal Mustache”), dreams (“Foreign. Exotic.”), and liquor (“The Blood of the Onion”), only to come up against an implacable and corrupt system that erodes their humanity, breaking up families and repossessing property. Concerned with the bottom rungs of the social ladder, pieces such as “Mao,” about a young, cat-loving vigilante in a crime-infested neighborhood, or “Placard and Broomstick,” in which a grocery stocker mounts a feeble protest against unsafe working conditions, cover an astonishing range. Then there’s the centerpiece, a daring experiment called “The Things They Carried,” which references the famous Tim O’Brien story (and book) of the same name, except that Ikonomou’s peasants carry nothing but unpaid bills and “the weight of their weakness, the weight of time, of the sicknesses that ate at their bodies.” These stories add up to a panorama of the human spirit under siege and a searing indictment of the failures to reform the Greek infrastructure. (Mar.)