"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Posts tagged "Greece"
On borrowed ground

On borrowed ground

It is fair to say that the ancient Greeks gave to the literary imagination some of the greatest female characters, that they created, even, the very genre of a female protagonist. In a world presumed to be dominated by men, male thought and undeniably masculine politics, it is women who often offer the starkest, most...
For Hekate

For Hekate

She wakes to the sound of axes. All through the forest around her, sharp over the howling of the wind. The sunshunted by sea-blown spray. Hekate unceasing, and the wind still hot, with no cloud, air warped and darkened. Her grandfather struggling to rise higher. The Minyae building on the shore, wearing very little and...
Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel Exit West imagines a world in which war refugees and economic migrants have the chance to break for safety by passing through supernatural black doors that serve as wormholes to wealthier countries. It’s a magical conceit that fast-forwards the likely exoduses of the coming decades, and intensifies the human dramas of...
Vagrant tales

Vagrant tales

Before Greece embraced modernity and its marvels, it was a nation of stark realities and pernickety sprites. Lore and legend held as much validity as did hard facts in the popular imagination, but also in the synthesis of what was no less than a national soul. Sprites, trolls, crones, harridans and ogres, with innumerable names,...
Unfinished business

Unfinished business

There is a singular sense of feverish neutrality in Thanassis Valtinos’ writing. A cinematic poise, a travelling eye, a dramatist’s instinctive flair for tension, voice, climax, the lull that contains more menace than any thundering explosion; a perpetual game of darkness and light, an omniscient narrator who never divulges all he knows. Valtinos was born...
No end in sight

No end in sight

Sunset at the Villa Thalia by Alexi Kaye Campbell. Dorfman/National Theatre “Decision time. Have you chosen hope or fear?” says one of the characters in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s brilliant new play. That character is a forty-something American known simply as ‘Harvey’ and played electrifyingly by Ben Miles. Harvard man extraordinaire, US State Department ‘floater’, man...
Mistaken identity

Mistaken identity

“Every crook in Greece is in the government,” the villager told the CBS correspondent. At first this declaration sounded extreme, but the man spoke with no emotion at all, a fact that impressed the foreigner. Barefoot, filthy, dressed in rags. Scratches on his ankles, dried blood, bruises everywhere. A man who took life as it...
Andrea Gillies: Sirens call

Andrea Gillies: Sirens call

Andrea Gillies’ second novel opens with Nina Findlay recovering in a hospital in a tiny postcard-perfect Greek island. She’s lucky to be alive. She’s survived a head-on collision with a minibus with only a broken leg, whereas her life just before the accident was in tatters following the implosion of her relationship with two brothers....
Elixirs and poisons

Elixirs and poisons

In the work of Ioanna Karystiani, a meeting between worlds takes place. Thought and matter come clashingly together. The old and the new accuse and forego one another. Memory and facelessness stare haughtily at each other. Meaning and incomprehensibility stagger us with their urgency and despair. Dignity tries to speak. It stutters, fumbles for the...
Through a child's eyes

Through a child’s eyes

Penelope Delta was born in 1874 in Alexandria, where there was then a thriving Greek community. She belonged to the Greek aristocracy of her time, both extraordinary in its endeavours, and, like high Victorian and Edwardian society, decidedly structured in its make-up. She could easily have walked out of a novel by E.M. Forster, Marcel...