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Culture

Georgios Andritsos’ Short Story Collection ‘This Is Not America (or…Is It?)’

April 15, 2024

The economic crisis has had, and in many ways continues to have, a profound effect on contemporary culture in Greece. Writers have grappled with the effects and have also been inspired in practically every genre. ‘This Is Not America (or…Is It?)’ by Georgios Andritsos is a powerful short story collection that transports the reader to Greece with compelling characters dealing with the toll the crisis has taken.

According to the book’s description: “This deeply human collection of short stories explores the institutions of family and friendship and the shaken sexual relationships of people in Greece. The characters in these stories fight back against a tough reality as they are pushed to the very brink. Each story carves a sincere, dynamic path ending with a sense of harmony, justice, and optimism.”

“In Greece, nothing reminds us of America. Here, there is no Hollywood, Las Vegas, or Route 66 with motels built in the middle of nowhere. Here, everything seems different. Well, this is not America (or . . . is it?).”

The first story in the collection draws the reader in from the start as we drop in on a road trip with two brothers on their way to visit their mother, a seemingly typical thing two brothers might do after they return to Greece having lived abroad for many years as many Greeks have throughout history. As the story unfolds, the characters gradually reveal the twists and turns that have made this visit anything but typical.

Andritsos has rendered the setting and the characters with an authenticity that is refreshing and almost uncanny. The places and the people in the stories are familiar, and while the crisis may have taken its toll, there is a resilience here and a spirit that cannot be denied.

Short stories in their brevity can often be more profound than a full length novel, offering glimpses into the lives of characters who could be us or someone we know, without the burden of thousands of words to weigh them down. There is a rhythm more like poetry in short stories and Andritsos has managed to capture that essence in a concentrated form to tell us about Greece and the crisis in a lyrical way that is thoughtful and thought-provoking.

According to his biography, Andritsos was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has worked as a driver, bartender, DJ, and manager in trendy bar and restaurants in Scandinavia, England, Tenerife, and Spain. Andritsos’ first book, ‘A Little More than Just Drinks & Cocktails’, won first prize among 35 titles at the London Book Fair in 2008. He received his master’s degree in creative writing from Bath Spa University in 2013. He has organized creative writing seminars in Norway, England, Spain, and Greece, written two volumes of poetry titled ‘Stop and Listen’, and published his collection of short stories, ‘This Is Not America (or Is It?)’, in Greece. He is currently finishing his first novel, Dark Paths.

‘This Is Not America (or…Is It?)’ by Georgios Andritsos is available online: https://literary-works.com.

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