On Our Shelves Now
Ikonomou's stories convey the plight of those worst affected by the Greek economic crisis--laid-off workers, hungry children. In the urban sprawl between Athens and Piraeus, the narratives roam restlessly through the impoverished working-class quarters located off the tourist routes. Everyone is dreaming of escape: to the mountains, to an island or a palatial estate, into a Hans Christian Andersen story world. What are they fleeing? The old woes--gossip, watchful neighbors, the oppression and indifference of the rich--now made infinitely worse. In Ikonomou's concrete streets, the rain is always looming, the politicians' slogans are ignored, and the police remain a violent, threatening presence offstage. Yet even at the edge of destitution, his men and women act for themselves, trying to preserve what little solidarity remains in a deeply atomized society, and in one way or another finding their own voice. There is faith here, deep faith--though little or none in those who habitually ask for it.
About the Author
Christos Ikonomou was born in Athens in 1970. He has published two collections of short stories, The Woman on the Rails (2003), and Something will Happen, You'll See (2010). Something Will Happen, You'll See won the prestigious Best Short-Story Collection State Award and became the most reviewed Greek book of 2011. About the Translator: Karen Emmerich's translations from the Greek include books by Margarita Karapanou, Amanda Michalopoulou, Ersi Sotiropoulos, and Vassilis Vassilikos. Her translation of Miltos Sachtouris for Archipelago was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and her translation of Yannis Ritsos's Diaries of Exile with Edmund Keeley won the 2014 PEN Literary Award. She has received translation grants and awards from PEN, the NEH, and the Modern Greek Studies Association. She teaches at the University of Oregon.