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Παρασκευή, 9 Φεβρουαρίου 2018

On 2015, with an eye to 2019: a response to the critique by Konstantinos Poulis – by Yanis Varoufakis

In his recent remarks, Konstantinos Poulis expressed the most substantive and essential critique of the strategy I pursued with regard to the creditors both prior to and during my brief term in the Ministry of Finance. In short, his critique was that:

Remarks occasioned by the Greek translation of Adults in the Room (Ανίκητοι Ηττημένοι)

Yanis Varoufakis’ case is a singular one. There is no other example of such a glaringly unjust mismatch between international esteem and domestic vilification. That said, I believe that the opposite of vilification is not praise but rather rational, rigorous critique.

Τρίτη, 23 Ιανουαρίου 2018

Παρουσίαση του βιβλίου του Κωστή Παπαϊωάνου Τα "καθαρά χέρια" της Χρυσής Αυγής

Στα πλαίσια της συζήτησης στην παρουσίαση του βιβλίου του Κωστή Παπαϊωάνου διεξήχθη μια πολύ ουσιαστική συζήτηση για το τι είναι η Χρυσή Αυγή και με ποιους τρόπους μπορεί να αντιμετωπιστεί.

Συμμετέχουν Αποστόλης Φωτιάδης, Σπύρος Παπαδόπουλος

Δευτέρα, 25 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

Holiday Reading: Best of 2017, Neville Morley

Once again, I’ve remembered to keep track of the blogs I’ve especially enjoyed over the last year (with the curious exception of April – I don’t know, at this remove, whether I was too busy to read anything, or not much was published, or I was feeling hyper-sniffy at the time so didn’t think there was anything worth recommending. Very happy to get suggestions in the comments of great things that I’ve missed). This doesn’t claim to be a definitive list, just the stuff I came across – often via the Twitter, which continues to be a great way of keeping up with what’s going on in different regions and fields, despite all the management’s efforts to ruin it and drive everyone away – that deserves a more than ephemeral readership…

Πέμπτη, 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

The Leonardo DiCaprio of Exarcheia, Translator's Note

This short story is one of thirteen that appear in Konstantinos Poulis’ acclaimed fiction debut  Θερμοστάτης [Thermostat] (Melani Editions, 2014). Poulis and I met on the remote Aegean island of Icaria in the heady Greek summer of 2015—the summer of the “Greferendum” and capital controls, when the fate of Europe seemed to hang in the hands of a tiny nation on the continent’s margins. When I passed through Athens on the way back to the United States, I made a point of stopping by Poulis’ favorite bookstore, Politeia, to pick up a copy of  Θερμοστάτης. On the plane ride home I read “The Leonardo DiCaprio of Exarcheia” and quickly realized that, without knowing it, I had just met one of the country’s most unique new creative voices.
Today Greece is best known for an illustrious antiquity and ongoing financial crisis. Traces of both appear in the stories collected in  Θερμοστάτης, yet in oblique and unexpected ways. In «Θρίαμβος» [“Triumph”], the narrator recounts a memory of how one teacher, a philologist, handled an awkward classroom moment by asking a student to read out loud from a piece of pornography—pornography written in the most elevated Greek literary style. In «Νά πῶς μὲ λὲν ἐμένα!» [“That’s what my name is!”], a man frustrated by his inability to understand conversations about the economy sets out to educate himself through impenetrable financial news articles—only to find true satisfaction between the covers of a poetry anthology.
But while these stories were written during the Greek crisis, they are not motivated by or about the crisis. They are stories, above all, about imagination, in the broadest, most thrilling and even perilous (as in the case of “The Leonardo DiCaprio of Exarcheia”) sense of the word. Throughout the collection, Poulis himself also imaginatively experiments with literary form: «Ἑνάμισι τετραγωνικὸ μέτρο» [“One and a half square meters”] is as short as the space it describes is small. In both architecture and dialogue, the stories also bear signs of their author’s decades spent as a theater practitioner: fresh from his degree (and to his mother’s dismay) Poulis first earned money by putting on impromptu performances in front of Athens’ Monastiraki metro station.
As the first piece in the collection, “The Leonardo DiCaprio in Exarcheia” is in many ways programmatic. Its main character, Takis, is a boy with a dream. But it is a wild, insistent dream that soon takes a life of its own—and Takis’ life along with it. The story steadily transforms into its own kind of dreamscape, its contours shaped by a narrator who, through digressive anecdotes and first- and second-person interjections, lures the reader into a contract of complicity in Takis’ fate. For unlike Takis, who is at first exhilarated, then baffled and imprisoned by, his dream, both narrator and reader know from the start that “this is just how dreams are—a land where 1 + 1 = 5 and dogs recite Milton.
Johanna Hanink

The Leonardo DiCaprio of Exarcheia

Takis was a good kid, cheerful and fun loving, adored by the whole neighborhood and with a knack for telling jokes. When he was in the school play everyone told him he should become an actor. But he didn’t become an actor, he became a barber. Or, to be precise, an assistant barber. The barber was Mr. Vassilis. He first hired Takis to help out because he knew his mother. Takis washed hair and started the haircuts, then the boss would come by and neaten them up. He took pride in his work. First it was his smile, next it was the way he liked looking after the place and bringing a little picture or potted plant back to it from the market. In the end, he became the life of the barbershop. He lived at home with his mother, who was crazy about him. You’ll probably say that’s just how mothers are, but she really was over the top.