iris literary agency



MetaPoesis

Written by 

Shortlisted for the Diavazo short story prize

Dimosthenis Papamarkos’ first collection of short stories has caused a stir on the Greek literary scene. Its title, transliterated as MetaPoesis, means ‘Re-making’, in the sense of stitching up or transforming old/damaged clothes, as well as punning with the idea of ‘Meta-poetry’. Indeed, all the stories are concerned both with how we attempt to remake our lives in the face of trauma, and with the retelling of old narratives (most obviously with a paradigmatic story of trauma, in Cain, and more subtly with concealed allusions to old Greek narratives, including the Odyssey, in Arise). The stories are like the title, sophisticated and many-layered.

This does not come, however, at the expense of clarity or freshness. Papamarkos is a first-rate story-teller, and the narrator of each story speaks in his own, distinct voice (the stories are all told in the first person singular) with remarkable directness and candour. This is the great charm of the collection: it reads with refreshing ease, but provokes, and warrants, a good deal of thought from the reader.

Not least in the mind of the reader is how this collection relates to the current state of ‘crisis’ in Greece. The recurring themes of remaking, and of death, bring to mind the country that is on its knees and desperately looking for a way out. Thinly veiled social commentary can be found, the stories raise questions about Greece’s past, present and future.

Each story in the collection submits to numerous such interpretations, whilst maintaining a striking and dramatic storyline. The variety of approach, coupled with unity of theme, is thus a key feature of the book. In this vein, an important hallmark of Papamarkos’ style, which maintains the reader’s interest, is his use of the unexpected. Each story contains an element of surprise, a surreal or magical feature. This finds parallels in the work of Etgar Garet, while the author’s post-modern approach and reworking of motifs from the Greek folk tradition is reminiscent of Italo Calvino’s early work. There are, furthermore, discernible influences of Bret Easton Ellis, in Papamarkos’ characters, as well as of Borges.

The collection is the work of an author in his prime: Papamarkos has created a new voice, but one which is consistent and mature.

English and Italian extracts available

 

Selection of reviews

MetaPoesis is not limited to the world of the narrator. Papamarkos opens up his texts to the Ancient Greek perception of the "Other", its problematic reflection, the sight and mirror of Vernan for example, the "dialogues of the dead", but also to the oriental quest for the "familiar" and the "different". In this way, he transforms the primordial myth into the archetypical subtext of every civilization, within the context of which takes place the old debate of the "Self" and the "Other", of the natural and the metaphysical, of life and death. He also processes the language of fables and folk literature, exposing it to the dark intertextuality of romanticism and modernism…

--Titika Dimitroulia, Kathimerini, 18/11/2012

 

…The game of life and death, revenge as an act of honour and deliverance, the question of identity – since often the victim is the perpetrator and vice versa – dual personality, death and freedom and other existential questions, consistent with the spirit of our times, but at the same time crafted with care and attention both in the economy of every short story and the atmosphere in which Dimosthenis Papamarkos immerses the reader…

--Yiorgos Perantonakis, Bookpress.gr, 16/09/2012

 

Dimosthenis Papamarkos’ collection of short stories is a powerful and robust one. It is a book about violence as a redemptive dead-end, a book, finally, that visits our colourful linguistic tradition with moderation and respect.

--Grigoris Mpekos, To Vima, 09/09/2012

Papamarkos Dimosthenis

Dimosthenis Papamarkos was born in Malessina in 1983. He has published two novels and the short-stories collection MetaPoesis. He is doing his PhD in Ancient in Greek History at the University of Oxford, where he resides, and is a regular contributor to the Greek national newspaper "Eleftherotypia".

More in this category: The dog of Charyvdis »