Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Christos Tsiolkas -- "Dead Europe"

Looking good is Christos Tsiolkas's third novel Dead Europe. Read the Australian review of the book by the Australian-Greek author who wrote the fab Loaded (made into a film by Anna Kokkinos and starring Alex Dimitriades).

Isaac is a photographer in his mid-thirties, travelling through Europe. It is the post-Cold War Europe of a united currency, illegal immigration and of a globalised homogenous culture. In his mother’s mountain village he encounters a Balkan vampire. Subsequently, as his journey continues across Italy, Eastern Europe and Britain he discovers that ghosts keep appearing in the photographs he takes, providing clues to a family secret and tragedy. Parallel to Isaac’s story we are in the Greece of World War II. A peasant family is asked to provide protection to a Jewish boy fleeing the Germans. It is this boy who will become the vampire. From the mountains of Greece to the inner-city streets of 1960s Melbourne, we trace the journey of this malevolent force as it feeds on generation after generation of Isaac’s family, seeking revenge and justice.

What Ian Syson said:
Like most of Tsiolkas' work, Dead Europe leads us to pessimistic conclusions. Characters are base and weak; cultures are moribund, corrupt and decaying; peoples are warlike, hypocritical and hate-filled. In other words, he's writing about a likely future.

Yet within all this, Tsiolkas finds moments of beauty and life. One of his strengths is the ability to reveal gentleness lying where none might be expected. His prose is sometimes so achingly tender and beautiful that it gives us pause to reflect on the tragedies that force a writer capable of communicating such joy and delight to stare down the many spectres haunting Dead Europe.

What Colm Toibin said:
This book “sets sharp realism against folk tale and fable, a world of hauntings and curses against a fiercely political portrait of a society. The energy in the writing, the pure fire in the narrative voice and the fearlessness of the tone make the novel immensely readable, as well as fascinating and original, and establish Christos Tsiolkas in the first rank of contemporary novelists.”

BUY IT from Gleebooks!. Gleebooks is the great Australian bookshop! Americans, do not fear, order this book from Gleebooks!


Blogger richardwatts said...

Dead Europe is definitely Tsiolkas' best book to date, although once again the ending is anti-climactic: ironic, given the author's great love of cinema.

4:33 pm  
Blogger kathryn said...

Hi Richard, Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the problem of endings. Interesting. Maud recently commented on endings and pointed to an article in the Guardian by James Wood.

12:49 pm  
Blogger kathryn said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for stopping by. Sounds like that would've been an interesting night. Come on back when you finish Dead Europe. Curious to hear your thoughts.

12:13 pm  

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