Throwing Dice on a Chessboard: (a collection of short stories)

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9781449081119: Throwing Dice on a Chessboard: (a collection of short stories)
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7 short stories. 7 ordinary heroes. Who will face and kill the ferocious demons within? Who holds the strongest weapon? The realist or the dreamer? Both none and both, fiction and reality are inseparable siblings, organs of the same body; it is when seahorses finally obtain voice and self-consciousness, only to see their host dead. Yet when a man tragically loses his life, another fights against a fig tree that has sexually dominated him all through his life. A short story never ends . . . Or might it be the ingenious girl who, with a discovery in hand should decide about her professional orientation, yet constantly puts herself down? The tragic mother ignorant of her own disposition or the lucky man who is self-healed from his insanity driven by both natural and technical phenomena? The tragic lover or the dominant triplet? They are all heroes of everyday life, struggling to overcome their dazzling soliloquy. Some of these figures fighting with the modern changes - so lovingly cajoled but simultaneously cunningly struck by the simplest technological advances. Admittedly, during the past ten years the ever so lose strings of Fate have granted allowance both to the individual as well as to whole societies for choice and change of personal or their global future. But who of all them will grab his or her chance? Put together, all the pieces of the puzzling Reality that this collection of short stories may create are nothing but a "Carl Jung imagery" only to prove once again, in a brand new way, that we are all following a solid Plan called "Synchronicity". Christos Rodoulla Tsiailis's short stories constitute some of the most original, contemporary art of Modern Greek Cypriot and English Literature, with great contribution to international Philosophy.

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About the Author:

Christos Rodoulla Tsiailis was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1974. He has obtained a B.A degree in English Literature and Linguistics and also participated in many writing workshops and writers' retreats, either for acquiring new writing techniques, or as an organizer. He is also involved in script writing. He has written several collections of poetry and theatrical plays, both in English and Greek, many of which have been uploaded on internet literary websites or published in newspapers and literary magazines. He is currently in the last stages of publishing his first novel. He is the owner of a Tutorial Centre, where he teaches English. Always on the bulk, he is also a devoted Marathon and Triathlon athlete, having completed numerous Marathon and Triathlon races internationally. He currently lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. You may contact him and read some more of his work, both in English and in Greek, in his blog tsiailisworld.blogspot.com or his website on jigsawfictin.com or in many literature websites where he uploads work as an active member.

Review:

from Authorhouse: Hollywood coverage
The narrative here is constructed as a series of stand-alone tales with abstract themes: while attending her aunt's wedding, a 15-year-old GIRL channels bad memories the frustrations of growing up into throwing stones at screeching bats; SANDIE, a mother, gathers the courage to reconnect with her estranged daughter, NILUSHA, but has to do so while speaking to Nilusha's urn; MR. MYRTHBORN works to decode song lyrics for evidence of self-perceived conspiracies, and a car accident jars his reason as he begins to think it may all be just paranoia; at a beach rave, a COLLEGE-AGED GIRL shares a connection with a local GUY, but by morning learns of his drunk driving death and that he was also the son of her FATHER's girlfriend; STEPHAN, one of a set of triplets, tries to avoid studying for a history exam and asks studious brother GEORGE and sister HELEN for a favor; omni-prescient MICROSCOPIC BEINGS escape from a MAN's brain as he scuba dives, marveling at the novel stimuli around them as they witness the man's death; a tortured and obsessive man named STAVROS recalls the cursed past he had with the ominous fig tree in his childhood backyard.

Gerry Huntman's review
Feb 16, 11 [part 1]
status: Read from February 15 to 17, 2011
 
It is unusual for me to pick up and read a literary work, especially by a debut author. I am too busy a person to normally wander away from what I like the most, which is speculative fiction and non-fiction. I certainly wish I read 'literary' fiction more, and poetry, for that matter.

I am therefore very pleased to say that I managed the time and took the 'leap' to read Christos Rodoulla Tsiailis' short anthology, Throwing Dice On A Chessboard. It most certainly was worthwhile.

Before I give my general impression of the work, and provide some detail on each of the short stories, I should dispense with an important area of improvement needed in the work. Christos is a Greek Cypriot and English is not his first language. While I am astounded with Christos' mastery of elements of the English language, including an immense vocabulary, his work is unfortunately well represented with spelling, grammar and proofing issues. The classic (turning up several times in the first half reading of the anthology, is 'lose' versus 'loose' - fundamentally different meaning and hard to miss the eyesore). Accuracy of tense is another common issue. I wont belabor the point - this book needs a good editorial treatment, and probably indicative of a work that is self published.

BUT... and it is really important to 'but'-in - this flaw is seriously overshadowed by a clearly talented and well-developed writer. This man is definitely going places.

Some works of fiction have a style that is more poetic than narrative based. This is just such a case. While there are cases of choices of words that perhaps are not quite right from a broad English idiomatic viewpoint, Christos has succeeded in expanding narrative to a level where unique phrases ARE apt, poetic, penetrating. I am a writer and I have learned things about expression in the English language from Christos. I thank him for that, in itself.

Each of Christos' stories in this anthology are penetrating - loaded with metaphor and evocative imagery. There isn't a single character who is two-dimensional - in many cases they are four-dimensional, if it is at all possible.

Perhaps to suffer being labeled a generaliser in this critique, the stories focus fair and square on characters, and this is somewhat supported by his (an artistic piece in itself) preface.

None of Tsiailis' stories depict a normal world. Not one. They are super-normal, but by doing this, he provides the reader with a super-understanding of human nature, and what it is to be normal, and why 'normalcy' is in fact a lie.

This, perhaps, is what I like most about the anthology.

As I stated above his Preface is a piece of quality writing in itself. Tsiailis chose to write it almost like a literary essay - he makes a bold statement - there is no originality left in literature, so his stories will be a presentation of carefully produced thefts - but nothing is obvious in Christos' work - his imagery is centred around
the 'sounds' of smoke - he is deliberately obfuscating in his Preface and is in fact going to provide the reader with stories (smoke) that have sound. Originality in my mind.
In summary, we have a wonderful, evocative writer here, and the only real negative of this anthology (other than it was in my mind too short), is the weakness in the English language. And yet, the strength of his themes, imagery and characterization transcends this to a high degree, making the majority of his stories highly worthwhile to read. Even the weaker stories (in my estimation) have merit, and contribute to the anthology as a whole.

I highly recommend this anthology to discerning, thinking readers.

Gerry Huntman's Review
[part 2]

The following are brief appraisals of each of the short stories:

White Night Stones - This was a great start to the anthology as it immediately presented Tsiailis' writing skills at its near-optimum. This story is essentially about a young girl's thoughts and revelations while attending a wedding function, and provides an insight into her world, which encompasses her family and her extended community. It is honest and delves deeply into her psyche, and it is
superimposed (presented, so to speak) via her growing understanding of the behavior of bats in the night garden outside the wedding function. Her growth of understanding of how bats can 'see' in the dark run parallel with her growth into a woman. It was a strong and penetrating piece.

Nilusha Thilangi Kariyawasam - This short story was nothing short of superb. Utterly superb. I cannot grasp why Christos chose to write such an insightful piece set in Sri Lanka, with Sri Lankan protagonists, but it worked - mightily well. The simple and devastatingly sad story of a woman's relationship with her daughter, and how it got complicated with her father, siblings and the nature of the community and society that these people were/are in, are revealed by simple second person discussion is impressive, and made the more readable by a hint, tinge of the religious supernatural. This is not a happy story, and yet it succeeds in part to uplift one's spirit. This anthology is worth buying just for this story.

A Black Car Radio - is one story that, for me, doesn't quite succeed in hitting its target, although again, is well written. Again the metaphors are skillfully constructed - the middle aged businessman, with complex psychological issues, finding his life centred around the
long journey to work and back, complicated by his unhealthy reliance on his radio and the tree-lined terrain lining the highway he was driving on. In my view Christos tried to push this too hard, to wring as much insight into the character as he could, where perhaps it was redundant to do so - I got it about halfway. Also, the conclusion - which I will not spoil for others - might have exploited the metaphor too far. Nevertheless, it was still a good read.

One SMS Behind - another very good story. Can't give anything away here, but I can say that this is the first story where there is a twist at the end. Superficially, the twist controls the story and yet, when revising what I read in the story as a whole, it is a secondary force. What makes this story very very good is its insight, depth of presentation of the main character. It captures - you can almost smell - the Mediterranean, young, party set, alive and convincing - youthful, energetic, indestructible (irony here), and yet set in context with the 'real world' outside. Perhaps more than anything, Christos is telling us that some realities are short lived, fleeting.
Gerry Huntman's Review
[part 3]

Hi, I'm Stephan; I Am A Triplet Child - this is a lovely short story, that on the surface is a vignette - a slice of a day of triplet children in a household, and yet it really is about the nature of the 'secret' behaviors, relationships betwixt multiple birth siblings, and how it further complicates as it extends to the rest of the family, friends and community (school in this case). This is not nearly as deep or penetrating as his other stories, but is rings of truth, and sensibly, he leaves the deepest undercurrents of being a triplet to our imagination.

Shallow Oceans - this is one of my less liked stories, but it was intriguing. I think, like A Black Car Radio, it tried too much. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but it, in my mind, is constructed of three parallel elements - a diver diving and what happens to him, the surrealistic affects of a brain being affected by some event during the dive, and a treatment of what consciousness is using the metaphor of the previous two elements. Tough gig in my mind. I don't think it quite worked, but there are very good surrealist scenes being portrayed. I felt put off by footnoting of neurological terminologies - I think the use of it is a symptom of the excessive effort Tsiailis is making.

The last three short stories - I will comment as one - they really are a triptych - Up There On The Fig Tree, The Coffin Maker, and The Hotel Owner - these three titles represents the three phases of Stavros, the protagonist. It is a depressing story of a man who was abused in a most unusual way through his childhood, and how this forms the kernel of his unusual, stunted, largely unhappy life. The fig tree is the key symbol in these three stories, which I will leave for you to discover. The tree is the tool by which he is so grievously stunted (like the tree itself), and it is the tree that becomes the raw material for the remainder of his life (in being there in his life, and by creating an ugly hole in his life in its absence). And yet life goes on, which is certainly the theme of the third story, and proves that some positivism can emerge from a long lifetime of darkness, incongruity. This is a very good story (stories - very unusual to do it this way, perhaps it should have been more structured so this is obvious from a title point of view), among Christos' best.

Reviewed By Karynda Lewis
Official Apex Reviews Rating:
Regardless of whatever difficulties we may face, we all have the power to shape our own fates. No matter how insurmountable our situations may seem, we are equipped with all the necessary mental, physical, and spiritual tools we need to overcome the obstacles that block our paths on the road of life. The only problem? Whether or not we have the strength of faith to empower us to endure.
Such is the central premise of thi collection. Throughout the pages of his collection, Tsiailis introduces the reader to seven different characters, each facing his/her own unique challenges. Far from superhuman icons, Tsiailis' protagonists are average, everyday figures to which readers are sure to relate, each with the power to transform him/herself for the better -- or worse. Just as we all are every day, the characters in Throwing Dice On A Chessboard are faced with the everchanging vicissitudes of life, and the ultimate success or failure of their efforts rests on their individual abilities to heed the cosmic ebb and flow that perpetually sways all of our actions. As such, Tsiailis' insightful tome is drawn straight from the pages of everyday life, particularly when it comes to the significance of the ongoing battles we wage against the demons within us all. An enlightening read.

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Book Description AuthorHouse. Paperback. Condition: New. 96 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.4in.7 short stories. 7 ordinary heroes. Who will face and kill the ferocious demons within Who holds the strongest weapon The realist or the dreamer Both none and both, fiction and reality are inseparable siblings, organs of the same body; it is when seahorses finally obtain voice and self-consciousness, only to see their host dead. Yet when a man tragically loses his life, another fights against a fig tree that has sexually dominated him all through his life. A short story never ends . . . Or might it be the ingenious girl who, with a discovery in hand should decide about her professional orientation, yet constantly puts herself down The tragic mother ignorant of her own disposition or the lucky man who is self-healed from his insanity driven by both natural and technical phenomena The tragic lover or the dominant triplet They are all heroes of everyday life, struggling to overcome their dazzling soliloquy. Some of these figures fighting with the modern changes - so lovingly cajoled but simultaneously cunningly struck by the simplest technological advances. Admittedly, during the past ten years the ever so lose strings of Fate have granted allowance both to the individual as well as to whole societies for choice and change of personal or their global future. But who of all them will grab his or her chance Put together, all the pieces of the puzzling Reality that this collection of short stories may create are nothing but a Carl Jung imagery only to prove once again, in a brand new way, that we are all following a solid Plan called Synchronicity. Christos Rodoulla Tsiailiss short stories constitute some of the most original, contemporary art of Modern Greek Cypriot and English Literature, with great contribution to international Philosophy. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781449081119

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