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Zigzag Through the Bitter-Orange Trees

Sotiropoulos, Ersi; Green, Peter (translator)

112 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1566566614 / ISBN 13: 9781566566612
Published by Interlink Books, Northampton, Massachusetts, 2007
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Signed and inscribed by the translator to named individuals at the front free endpaper and signed again at the title page. Clean and bright; no owners' marks; except for a few very short wrinkles at the spine head and top right front of the dust jacket, excellent, nearly as new. Jacket is now protected in a clear sleeve. 234pp. Bookseller Inventory # 062228

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Zigzag Through the Bitter-Orange Trees

Publisher: Interlink Books, Northampton, Massachusetts

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed and Inscribed by Translator

About this title


Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees weaves together the stories of four disparate young people in modern Greece: Lia, dying in the hospital from a mysterious virus; her brother Sid, the disaffected wanderer, her only remaining connection to the outside world; Lia's nurse Sotiris, an unstable blend of cowardice and desire; and the twelve-year-old rebel Nina, who dreams to break away from the humdrum life around her. Their four voices mingle in a black comedy of isolation and yearning, illusion and vengeance and the hunger for connection. With disarming power, Sotiropoulos portrays the conflicted world of the young - passionate and cynical, beautiful and grotesque.

From the Back Cover:

"This is not a novel for those interested in lyrical, many-colored evocations of the Greek landscape or folkloristic explorations of the Greek way of life as in some earlier Greek fiction...Ersi Sotiropoulos deliberately, craftily, undercuts such expectations. Her effort is to make things new by offering fragments of description by various narrators that show things as they are, mostly in black and white, characters who sometimes tell the truth about themselves and their bizarre impulses through sharp interior monologue, actions that range from the tender to the absurd, in short, a zigzag pattern of seemingly casual connections and truncated dialogue that finally creates a plausible image of more or less related characters living a contemporary slice of life as it really is. The language of the novel--down-to earth and precise--and its approach to metaphor--unsentimental, provocative--are what make its individual parts convincing, aspects that Peter Green's translation has brilliantly captured. The author's strategy succeeds in creating many moments of bright irony and black humor, more than enough to keep the pages turning and to bring illumination to the gray characters--often bored, usually self-absorbed, persistently yearning--who inhabit this fragmented reality."--Edmund Keeley

"At the center of this brilliant, mysterious novel is a disease that kills by fighting non-existent viruses. Is it the mind or the body that revolts? Zigzagging through multiple lives--a dying woman, a desperate flasher, a budding writer, a man with two names--Ersi Sotiropoulos gives us a Greece we have never quite seen before, garishly tragic-comic, with moments of "hidden grace." In Peter Green's snappy translation, this is writing that deserves a wide, appreciative audience." --David Mason

"Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees is the perfect gateway for the reader into a modern Greece where the classical hero is forgotten and 'sits all alone in a yard, baking in the sun.' Part Marguerite Duras, part Faulkner, with a dash of Fellini's Amarcord thrown in for comic spice, Ersi Sotiropoulos's pungent novel will tug your heart and tease your intellect. Don't zigzag--celebrate this writer's long-overdue first publication in America by reading her now."--Benjamin Anastas

"Zigzag through the Bitter Orange Trees is essentially an eloquent zigzag through the labyrinth of the human condition. Having broken with traditional narrative modes, Ersi Sotiropoulos has gone on to write a novel that is, in its narrative voice, characters, structure and texture, an original work of fiction. It's a compellingly rich and readable story, which, thanks to the flawless translation of Peter Green, carries powerfully into English the stuff of life at its most poignant and revealing. Sotiropoulos is one of the most challenging, uncompromising, and original novelists writing today."--Stratis Haviaras

"Through a graceful use of language and an inner genius of communing between siblings, Ersi Sotiropoulos achieves a remarkable feat: the special reality that emerges with infirmity, the bedridden metaphor, the lover and the brother and the prankster, all in one and all fragmented...And still she holds the reader always at ease through her uncanny easy-flowing tongue, a comforting language, which...amazingly comes into English with the same ease in Peter Green's translation. Sotiropoulos' narrative edifice brims with subtle humor throughout, containing all the woman's irony (and self-irony), with compassion for the male/brother/lover who gives her life and makes her laugh, existing only a half breath away from her. There is no doubt that this writer has raised the bar for contemporary Greek fiction... Sotiropoulos does not write typical post-modernist fiction--hers is an easy-going, pleasant 'great good read.'"--John Chioles, New York University

"With her latest novel Ersi Sotiropoulos, one of Greece's most original and entertaining writers, creates a must-read for anyone wanting to think outside the tired oppositions of first and third world, high and low tech, postmodernity and tradition. In her zigzag through contemporary Greek culture, sex, drugs and rock and roll coexist with the bitter orange trees of village life. Alienation is sent packing by the puns and winks of her Poprock prose."--Karen van Dyck, Columbia University

"Like a magical juggling act, a polyphonic, deftly elegant novel, Zigzag Through the Bitter Orange Trees uses four characters--two men and two women--to tell the story. Their lives intersect and tie together in the end in a way that in a lesser writer's hands would seem contrived but in Ersi Sotiropoulos' becomes wonderfully fanciful and seductive. Beautiful language (in an excellent translation), lyrical at times, and always poignant and precise, conveys a sharp intelligence, and the accurate psychological observations and vivid evocation of character, time and place make the book compelling and enthralling. It was a pleasure to be immersed in its world--at once, so dreamy and realistically depicted."--Irini Spanidou

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