At Twilight They Return A Novel in Ten Tales Zyranna Zateli, David Connolly

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
03 Jan 2017
Yale University Press
528 pages: 229 x 152 x 35mm
Sales territories:

The powerful and stylistically brilliant saga of a family by one of contemporary Greece’s most acclaimed literary masters

Zyranna Zateli’s ambitious, multigenerational saga is the story of Christoforos, who first weds Petroula, and then Eftha, followed, after her death, by Persa; of his sexually promiscuous son Hesychios and the many bastard children left on the doorstep following the untimely demise of so many would-be daughters-in-law; and of the sisters, brothers, children, and grandchildren who inhabit a household and a history expanding to near-bursting. Rich in symbolism and magical realism, this complex and wondrous family story unfolds nonsequentially in ten interrelated “tales,” in a magnificent new English language translation by David Connolly. Unique in structure, style, and narrative voice, Zateli’s novel, considered to be her masterpiece, combines classical mythology, ethnic folklore, and actual historical events with ingenious invention. It is a touchstone of contemporary Greek literature, awarded the Greek State Prize for Best Novel in 1994, and is an essential introduction to this rightfully celebrated author.

Zyranna Zateli, a well-known author, radio actor, and producer, was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Athens. David Connolly is an award-winning translator and former professor of translation studies in the School of English at the Aristotle University of Thessaloníki.

"As years go by, this book will be compared to the masterpieces of world literature.”—Dinos Siotis, Diavazo, July 2002

“The superb translation by David Connolly of Zateli’s masterpiece At Twilight They Return weaves Greek folklore with magical realism; like a snake shedding successive skins, ten stories slither through history and fact into the wondrous and the marvelous. A book guaranteed to charm.”—George Syrimis, Yale University

“Impossible to summarize such a prolific work: through four generations and more than six hundred pages of comings and goings in time, Zyranna Zateli builds the story of a family in which tragic tales and mysterious beliefs are profusely interlaced. An epic wind blows there, blending archaism with poetry. Although death is omnipresent, the tone is not macabre; no doubt because Zateli’s writing is so intense that it illuminates all things.”—Florence Noiville, Le Monde, 16 March 2007

"The stories that intertwine in Zateli's novel are compelling, but what pulls you through this long book is not just the content but the style, the voice, the simple yet gorgeous fabric of her language.”—Karen Emmerich, Princeton University