Yannis Skarimbas, Mariambas: 10th volume of the Birmingham Modern Greek Translations
Yannis Skarimbas, Mariambas, trans. Leo Marshall, 2015
Skarimbas's voice is unique in European fiction, as unique and inimitable as Laurence Sterne's. Mariambas is an account of the events leading up to a suicide, but one quite consciously unlike any in the great novels of the nineteenth century: Mysteries, Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina. With its complicated chronology, its interlocking embedded narratives, its shifts of register and narrative perspective, its stylistic pastiches and parodies, its plot mechanism as intricate, as funny and distressing, as a Feydeau farce, it subverts the tragic coherence of life in nineteenth century fiction. For Skarimbas life is too complicated, has woven into it too many incongruous strands, ever simply to seem empty. It seems, like the moon in Mariambas, to be mostly half full; and therein lies tragedy, but also comedy, enough.
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