With the cold and snow conspiring to keep us indoors, winter is a great time to catch up on your reading. Among the fantastic new work available, several entertaining books have recently been published by talented Greek, Cypriot, and Greek-American authors. From remarkable debut novels to genre-defying fiction, there is something for every book lover to enjoy this winter. Here are seven excellent books to add to your reading list for 2016.
The Dead of August by Panayotis Cacoyannis was one of the best reviewed books of 2015. The London-based, Cypriot author’s gem of a debut novel follows a London obituary writer named James Linthwaite on a strange assignment. A reclusive artist challenges James and two other writers to spend time with him and then write an obituary for him, with the purpose only revealed later on. The vivid characters deal with complicated family and professional lives as the book wittily comments on art and publishing in the modern media-saturated world. The author follows up his excellent debut novel with his latest release, Bowl of Fruit (1907). This book starts off slowly but eventually the interconnected lives of the characters draws you into the story. Leon and ghostwriter Anna share a birthday and apparently much more. Secrets are revealed in this compelling sophomore effort by author Cacoyannis.
Evanthia’s Gift (The Gift Saga Book One) by Effie Kammenou is a multi-generational love story following Greek and Greek-American characters from two families through the second half of the 20th century. Touching on themes of friendship and family, love and romance, religion and tradition, the novel offers readers Greek cultural references, history, and even recipes to enjoy. The first of a series, this well-written book will undoubtedly leave fans clamoring for the next installment.
The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools by Nick Mamatas features a Greek-American protagonist, Vasili “Billy” Kostopolos, struggling to survive in a post-zombie apocalypse San Francisco. This genre-blending, science fiction, action adventure is not just another gory zombie book, but a darkly humorous satire with surprising heart. Fans of science fiction, horror, and fantasy will enjoy The Last Weekend which is available online along with several other weird and wonderful books by the talented Mamatas.
The Book of the Rain by Alexis Stamatis is set in Athens, 2009 when a terrible rainstorm strikes the city. The characters and their complicated lives are transformed by the experience of living through the storm. The book, currently available online in Greek, was released in November 2015. A prolific author and playwright, Stamatis has several books available in Greek and in English translation. His novel American Fugue, originally published in 2006, was one of the first books to win support from the National Endowment for the Arts International Literature Awards program for its English translation, published in 2008 by Etruscan Press. The book was translated by Diane Thiel and Constantine Hadjilambrinos. A bestselling author in Greece and internationally, Stamatis was not widely known in the United States before the release of the translation of American Fugue. Other books by Stamatis include Bar Flaubert, an acclaimed novel following Yannis Loukas as he edits his father’s autobiography and then discovers a manuscript by an aspiring novelist, Loukas Matthaiou, among the family papers. The journey to discover the truth and uncover the mystery is a profound one in this compelling novel.