This book that consists of four interconnected long stories about people struggling in the existential limbo of contemporary Greece, had a very deep impact on me. This might be in part due to the fact that I’m part Greek but only visit Greece once in a few years, and was finally able to see the devastation, the decline that I noticed in the country post-austerity, reflected in writing.
Christos Ikonomou is immensely talented and stark in his prose: the darkness that he creates is horrifying not only because of its socio-economic veracity, but also because it’s making you stare into abysmal pits of mythological despair. The kind of comparison that comes to mind would perhaps be Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” but also Leonid Andreyev’s writing, which I adore, but barely anyone has read in English. But more than that, I see Ikonomou’s writing as a cultural metaphor for what Greece is, too: not European, not quite Middle Eastern, but Byzantine, drenched in darkness despite the sun-soaked reputation, picked to the bones by the 21st centuries economic crusades.
Good Will Come From the Sea by Christos Ikonomou
Translated from Greek by Karen Emmerich
Published by Archipelago Books in 2019