Synopses & Reviews
Linos has been granted a five-day furlough from prison where he is serving a life sentence for murder. His mother has decided to take him to Delphi. A few days spent in that magical place, she thinks, might distract him from his awful fate. She also hopes that this brief time together might be a chance for them to repair what has become a damaged relationship. To that end, she has a difficult revelation to share with her son: ten years earlier, it was she who led the police to him; she is responsible for his arrest and imprisonment.
Over the course of five days, as mother and son wander the magnificent ruins of Delphi, matters concerning Linos's childhood that have been buried for decades resurface. This is a return to the origins of Greek tragedy, a story about guilt and innocence, about the monsters that lurk even in everyday life, and about the complex and fascinating relationship between mothers and their sons.
"After being granted a five-day leave-of-absence from prison, a son tours the Greek town of Delphi with his mother in Karystiani's newest novel. Told in a deceptively playful voice, the narrative predominantly centers on the years leading up to the horrific crimes that land Linus Kolevas in jail. But the passages involving the early life of Linus's mother underline his turbulent upbringing: her silence in childhood due to a speech impediment, her pregnancy-induced abandonment of medical school, and the death of her alcoholic husband. Unspoken similarities are illuminated between mother and son, from their penchant for seeking out the physical imperfections of their surroundings to the toll their silent childhoods took upon their personalities. Karystiani presents a world that requires some reckoning before she depicts the inner lives of a mother and son who consider themselves thieves. Small epiphanies and aphoristic questions fuel momentum throughout: 'Do we always forgive someone and then love them or do we love them first and then forgiveness follows?' Karystiani delivers a teasing character study, the cryptic scenes slowly cohere and settle into a ruminative lull, transforming plot into poetry. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The divine Ioanna Karystiani is the great hope for Greek fiction" --The Guardian (London)
"Grim yet gorgeous, [The Jasmine Isle] is a modern Greek tragedy about love foredoomed, family life as battlefield, the wisdom and wantonness of the human heart and the implacable finality of the hand of fate." --Kirkus Reviews
"One can not stop reading until the end of [Back to Delphi] that expresses the inexpressible." --Maria Simonetti, L'ESPRESSO
About the Author
Ioanna Karystiani was born on the island of Crete, Greece, & now lives in Athens. Her literary debut came with the collection of short stories, I kyria Kataki (Ms. Kataki). She has since written three novels, all of which have been translated into several languages.