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Greece, Inside (and) Out

March 2009

This month we’re exploring Greece from perspectives both native and foreign. An earlier generation’s exodus has made way for a new influx of arrivals, changing the fabric of Greek society and shaping a new literary landscape. Here ex-pats and immigrants, insiders and outsiders consider national, cultural, and ethnic identity in defining what it means to be Greek today. We’re delighted to present the work of Thanassis Valtinos, Dimitris Chatzis, Margarita Karapanou, Ioanna Karystiani, Vassilis Alexakis, Sotiris Dimitriou, Petros Markaris, Ersi Sotiropoulos, Vassilis Gkourogiannis, and Gazmend Kapllani. Our special thanks to guest editor Karen Emmerich for her invaluable expertise and help in putting together this very special issue.

Modern Greek Literature, Inside (and) Out
By Karen Emmerich
It has never been possible to speak of Greece in terms of a simple opposition between what it contains on the inside, and what lies beyond its borders.
From “The Book of Andreas Kordopatis, Part I, America”
By Thanassis Valtinos
Hello, I say, they look at me, two men and some women, they don’t say a thing.
Translated from Greek by Jane Assimakopoulos
Kaspar Hauser in a Desolate Land from “The Double Book”
By Dimitris Chatzis
I haven’t seen that chain-smoking Spanish girl for days.
Translated from Greek by Peter Constantine
From “The Sleepwalker”
By Margarita Karapanou
Alan leapt out of bed. It was a quarter to seven and he had missed the boat.
Translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich
From “Suit in the Soil”
By Ioanna Karystiani
His passenger had gotten out and was sitting on a rock, talking to himself and wiping sweat from his face and neck with a handkerchief.
Translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich
From “Paris–Athens”
By Vassilis Alexakis
Silence I don’t know when I began to write this book.
Translated from Greek by Andriana Mastor
From “Paris–Athens”
By Vassilis Alexakis
Silence I don’t know when I started to write this book.
Translated from French by Alyson Waters
From “God Tells Them All”
By Sotiris Dimitriou
“Go on, my man, tell your story.”
Translated from Greek by Patricia Felisa Barbeito
Green Card
By Petros Markaris
He was wearing a pair of threadbare jeans and a checked shirt. There was a cardboard sign hanging round his neck.
Translated from Greek by David Connolly
Can Anybody Hear Me?
By Ersi Sotiropoulos
There were only two blocks to go, but she had started dragging her feet.
Translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich
Nazif the Turk from Ioannina
By Vassilis Gkourogiannis
The drivers emerged and made their way towards the last car to see what exactly was going on.
Translated from Greek by Patricia Felisa Barbeito
From “A Short Border Handbook”
By Gazmend Kapllani
My entire body was stiff, I was freezing cold and shaking all over.
Translated from Greek by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife