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Agora ∞ Greek Group Readings > Ioanna Karystiani's SWELL

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message 1: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Dec 15-22: Pages 9-140

Dec 22-31: Pages 140-End


message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Swell by Ioanna Karystiani starts in the South Australian port of Port Pirie, on a docked boat. The first characters are Maritsa (a cat), Cleanthis Birbilis (ship mate), Captain Dimitris Avgoustis (Mitsos, Mimis), Flora (his wife), but these introductions are quickly linked to a past story, to September 1922 near the end of the Graeco-Turkish War, when the then infant Dimitrakis, his family, and villagers flee smoldering Smyrna (south of Troy) by boat after which Dimitrakis' father stealthily returns there to retrieve the villagers' numerous population of cats.


message 3: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i'm looking forward to this, Asmah! but i have to finish "The Pericles Commission" first... :D


message 4: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Marieke wrote: "i'm looking forward to this, Asmah! but i have to finish "The Pericles Commission" first... :D"

I'm rereading The Pericles Commission to bring together the new information from the webinar, to tie in the parts of the story missed at first, and to write the review. I'm right with you on this.


message 5: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments Wow! I look forward to your review! I just checked my public library catalog and they don't have it; we only have the original greek at my work library. So I'll be buying it...I'm hoping for an e-book since it will be quicker!


message 6: by Betty (last edited Dec 27, 2010 10:24AM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments This story has a Mediterranean feeling to it -- watery, shimmery. The parts are fluid, twining in and out of each other like sea currents. Enjoying the characters, especially the Captain Avgoustis.


message 7: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments I just got my copy in the mail but haven't had a chance to start it yet. hopefully today! if not, then tomorrow!


message 8: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments Asmah, i'm about half-way through and still really enjoying it. however, i'm finding the most difficult parts to be the passages in a different font with a woman speaking/writing...am i obtuse? is this always the same woman or is it sometimes his wife and sometimes his mistress? at first i thought it was his lover but the most recent one seemed to be his wife. i'm pretty sure i'll be going back to the beginning to reread some things.


message 9: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Marieke wrote: "...i'm about half-way through and still really enjoying it. however, i'm finding the most difficult parts to be the passages in a different font with a woman speaking/writing..."

She does seem to be Avgoustis' mistress who recounts her experiences with him over a lifetime...and to whom is she speaking? to his son? I'm rereading those italicized parts as well. This book can benefit from at least a couple of readings...and as for The Jasmine Isle by [her] -- that's one I'd also like to read if only to compare the two stories. But it's onward and forward. Happy New Year, 2011.


message 10: by Betty (last edited Jan 01, 2011 12:31AM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments There's apparently very few reviews on the internet about this novel, actually two!!

http://blog.semcoop.com/2010/02/08/sw... The Front Table

"After twelve years at sea it is time to go home to the Island on which he was born: home to his wife Flora, his two daughters, his son, a granddaughter he has never met, and Litsa, his lover from all those years ago; a modern-day Penelope awaiting the return of her Ulysses." -- inside book jacket

"...Whole sections of the novel, printed in a different type, are the voice of someone who is not completely identified till fairly late, and it can sometimes be a bit frustrating reading these thoughts without knowing for sure whose they are..." -- extract from the review of Mary Whipple -- ANOTHER READER WHO FOUND THESE ITALICIZED PASSAGES SOMEWHAT OF AN ENIGMA.
http://www.amazon.com/Swell-Europa-Ed...


message 11: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i'm glad it's not just me who is a little bewildered! i agree, i could read this book more than once (and enjoy it). i also got Jasmine Isle when i ordered Swell...hopefully i'll be able to get to it this year! it seemed to get better reviews on goodreads than Swell but i don't know if that is because it is better or if it's because more people have read it.


message 12: by Betty (last edited Jan 01, 2011 11:31AM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Marieke wrote: "i'm glad it's not just me who is a little bewildered! i agree, i could read this book more than once (and enjoy it). i also got Jasmine Isle when i ordered Swell...hopefully i'll be able to get to ..."

"The Front Table" review above has two readers' comments--in so many words, how a translation of her story might be hard to capture from the modern Greek. My public library library did own a copy, perhaps on account of positive feedback (back cover) from "Publishers Weekly" and "Kirkus Reviews" about the previous novel, The Jasmine Isle. I think you are right that Ioanna Karystiani doesn't have the same recognition worldwide as she does in Europe (review excerpts on back cover plus writing awards). It's a shame, because this modern novel fills me with admiration for the style of writing and the storytelling. As is generally recognized, the experience of reading a story differs with each of its readers.


message 13: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i finished it this evening! i really really liked it. i thought it was a beautiful story. and toward the end the "letters" started making more sense and their function in the story makes complete sense now that i've finished the book. however, i want to go back and reread them because details in the individual letters are still rather perplexing, i think...i wasn't always sure if she was actually writing or if sometimes maybe she was talking to Andonis directly.


message 14: by Betty (last edited Jan 02, 2011 08:39PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Marieke wrote: "i finished it this evening! i really really liked it. i thought it was a beautiful story. and toward the end the "letters" started making more sense and their function in the story makes complete s..."

Three cheers for your success, Marieke!


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