Annie Liontas Let Me Explain You: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781476789095

Let Me Explain You: A Novel

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9781476789095: Let Me Explain You: A Novel

An unforgettable novel about a Greek American family and its enigmatic patriarch from a significant new voice in contemporary literature: “Hilarious yet rich...This debut by Annie Liontas will touch you” (The New York Times).

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, Greek immigrant and proud owner of the Gala Diner, believes he has just ten days to live. As he prepares for his final hours, he sends a scathing email to his ex-wife and three grown daughters, outlining his wishes for how they each might better live their lives. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, but when Stavros disappears, those closest to him are forced to confront the possibility of his death.

A vibrant tour de force that races to a surprising conclusion, Let Me Explain You is told from multiple perspectives: Stavros Stavros, brimming with pride and cursing in broken English; his eldest daughter Stavroula, a talented chef in love with her boss’s daughter; her sister, the wounded but resilient Litza; and many other voices who compose a veritable Greek chorus.

Funny yet deeply moving, this “pitch perfect” (San Francisco Chronicle) novel delivers a thoughtful meditation on the power of storytelling. In Let Me Explain You, Annie Liontas explores our origins and family myths, the relationship between fathers and daughters, the complex bond of sisterhood, hunger and what feeds us, but “the novel’s true heart is one filled with love and forgiveness” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

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About the Author:

A graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program, Annie Liontas writes fiction and poetry. Since 2003, Annie has been dedicated to urban education, working with teachers and youth in Philadelphia, and Newark, NJ. Let Me Explain You is her first novel. She lives with her wife in Philadelphia.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Let Me Explain You CHAPTER 1


From: SteveStavrosStavrosMavrakisgreekboss1@yahoo.com

To: Chef.Stevie.Mavrakis@saltrestaurant.com; xxangelxx@yahoo.com;

Ruby.Mavrakis@yahoo.com; CarolM@Starbucks.com

Subject: Our Father, Who is Dying in Ten Days

Dear, Family. Daughters & Ex-Wife:

Let me explain you something: I am sick in a way that no doctor would have much understanding. I am sick in a way of the soul that, yes, God will take me. No, I am not a suicide. I am Deeper than that, I am talking More than that.

DEAR STAVROULA, MY OLDEST. Please grow out your hair. It is very very short. This is one little thing that can change everything, you will see what I am saying when you take this small but substantial advice. Sometimes if we are who we are supposed to be on the outside, we are who we are supposed to be on the inside. The hair is the thing to trust and leave alone, and it will take care of you.

Let me explain you something: your father has seen some of the world for it to be enough. There is a way to be for the normal society, and you are not it. The hair says things about you that, yes, they are true, but the hair is not a fortune-teller. The hair is not the thing that has to point the way, like a streetlight.

I am not somebody religious, but this I know: Death is coming. In ten days, I promise you, your father the man will cease, he will be dust, he will be food in the worms. What do we owe our father? This is the question you can say to yourself at this time. Who can deny a dead man—a dead father—the thing that he demands?

No, I am not sick like my brother in Crete, who die with emphysema (this is Greek en which means in and physan means breath).

DEAR LITZA, MY SECOND, please go to church. You could say, no dad, you go to church then we will talk about if I go to church, but what I am talking about here are lessons that I should have taken for myself if my father had the wisdom to give me awareness, which I am holding out for you.

Litza, let me explain you something. Litza, you have problems.

Litza, nobody marries for a big wedding and then divorce one week later. When your mother and I divorce, it took years off our life. Litza, nobody destroys property the way when you come here into my diner and smash the dessert case with my own stool. The same is true for your sister, which you take that same stool and break her car window with it, even though you deny this always. Are you on drugs, Litza? Are you the same low-life as your biological mother, Dina?

Litza, you need God in your life.

Litza I see how much helping you are needing, and I know that God has to exist, because he is the only one who can do for you. I cannot do for you. I can only do for you what I am done for you.

And here, I will tell you this secret, that I have questions for God—Are you real? Are you here for me, Stavros Stavros Steve Mavrakis? Am I Your Forgotten Son? What is the meaning of this life that is too sorry for what it could be? Even though I have succeeded more, much more, than any foreigner would do in my country and I have now two diners and plans for selling one of them so that I have a little something for the future, yours not mine since my future is not something I can belong to any longer, and not your Mother since she is a thief, I’m sorry if it is a truth.

I, Stavros Stavros, have ask God to erase the mistakes of my life; and God has answer, in a matter of speaking, That it is best to Start Over, which requires foremost that We End All that is Stavros Stavros. No, not with suicide. With Mercy.

Yes, Litza, you must go to Church. To pray. For your father, yes, and for yourself.

DEAR RUBY, MY LITTLE ONE that I have adoration. It is a good rule to follow that if the mustache is weak, so will be the man. Look at your father’s mustache, which it is a fist! Forget the boys, Ruby, find yourself a man who encourages you get your own education, because you don’t want to be one of those woman who takes and takes and does not appreciate all of the way her husband slaves, like your Mother. Don’t go marrying some losers. Which you know I am talking about Dave. Why choose a man with the facial hair of an onion? When you can choose instead one of my assistant cooks, who make a decent living and has dreams of owning their own diner the way their mentor has, which is your father.

Otherwise, you are doing OK.

DEAREST MY EX-WIFE, Carol, the Mother, who divorce me one year ago. Which I am still, as a generous person, paying for things like to repair the plumbing. I am talking to the woman who is still my Wife in death, even if she did not know how to mourn me in life: please be the Ex-wife a Wife should be, in sickness and health. Even though you poison Stavroula and Litza against me from the moment I bring them into this fat country, and Ruby from the moment you bring her into the world. That is why I am asking: you should wear only black for the next year. To show a sign of honor for the man who walk much of this life with you by his side.

If you have any confusions, Daughters and Wife, you can email a response. I will answer them all. Such as, what is missing for a man at the end of his life when the path is clear and wisdom is the greatest? . . . the respect and love for the pateras!

Signed within Ten Days of Life Left, and a Dying Promise, Your Father: Stavros Stavros Steve Mavrakis

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. An unforgettable novel about a Greek American family and its enigmatic patriarch from a significant new voice in contemporary literature: Hilarious yet rich.This debut by Annie Liontas will touch you (The New York Times). Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, Greek immigrant and proud owner of the Gala Diner, believes he has just ten days to live. As he prepares for his final hours, he sends a scathing email to his ex-wife and three grown daughters, outlining his wishes for how they each might better live their lives. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, but when Stavros disappears, those closest to him are forced to confront the possibility of his death. A vibrant tour de force that races to a surprising conclusion, Let Me Explain You is told from multiple perspectives: Stavros Stavros, brimming with pride and cursing in broken English; his eldest daughter Stavroula, a talented chef in love with her boss s daughter; her sister, the wounded but resilient Litza; and many other voices who compose a veritable Greek chorus. Funny yet deeply moving, this pitch perfect (San Francisco Chronicle) novel delivers a thoughtful meditation on the power of storytelling. In Let Me Explain You, Annie Liontas explores our origins and family myths, the relationship between fathers and daughters, the complex bond of sisterhood, hunger and what feeds us, but the novel s true heart is one filled with love and forgiveness (Minneapolis Star-Tribune). Bookseller Inventory # BZV9781476789095

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