Jonathan Argyriou, a third-generation Greek-American, is on a flight from New York City to Athens. En route, he imagines a conversation with his sister—who’s missing from the seat next to him—and looks back on his family’s generations of loss and secrets, which he can no longer avoid: “Like a strangely bulimic climbing vine, the unrevealed secrets embrace the family’s flesh a little tighter each day, until in they end they become one with it.” Jonathan’s stream-of-consciousness narration weaves between his own memories and those of his forefathers, revealing eerie parallels. Marred by a tendency toward mawkish aphorism (“Transformation is the magical medicine for our country.”), Tsalikoglou’s first novel to be translated into English is an elegant, if slight, meditation on a family’s strained relationships with its past and homeland.
–Published in January by Europa Editions. Translated from the Modern Greek by Mary Kitroeff. 116 pages. $15.00