On My Aunt’s Shallow Grave White Roses Have Already Bloomed Maria Mitsora, Jacob Moe

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
18 Sep 2018
Yale University Press
200 pages: 197 x 127mm
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A collection of short stories by an acclaimed contemporary Greek writer, reminiscent of Lydia Davis and Jenny Offill

This collection assembles sixteen of Maria Mitsora’s short stories in what adds up to be a retrospective of the author’s work, spanning forty years. Moving across the urban netherworld of Athens to imagined Latin American towns and science‑fiction dystopias, Mitsora animates the alternatingly dark and revelatory aspects of the human psyche, depicting a world in which her protagonists are caught between reality and myth, predestination and chance, rationality and twisted dreams. Mitsora led a generation of writers whose work articulated major transitions in the Greek literary scene, from 1970s historical and political sensibilities shaped in response to the military Junta to a contemporary focus on a fragmented, multicultural world. Her consistent experimentation with the short story form—a dominant genre in Greek prose writing since the nineteenth century—ranges from psychologically dark, surrealist work to more recent reflective and poetic writings.

Maria Mitsora is the author of several short story collections, four novels, and a narrative autobiography.
Jacob Moe translates from Modern Greek and Brazilian Portuguese.

“Maria Mitsora’s surreal short stories confront the gaping abyss of time and oblivion lurking in everyday encounters. Her meticulous vision of objects, words and desires remade for an ambiguous world is staged with a searing, primordial intensity, like that flash of light from a steel knife in Albert Camus’ The Stranger.”—Vangelis Calotychos, Brown University

"Words have froth, on which we all sail; the ghost of an old friend returns to caress a stray dog; streets are strewn with flowers and razors. Welcome to Maria Mitsora’s weird world: her effective metonymies, her passionate allegories, her moving realist turns. One of the best stylists of Greece’s underground scene, Mitsora is introduced to the English-speaking public in an excellent translation by Jacob Moe, who treats her work with the diligence of a true fan. Her stories demand this - they win you over quickly, but need your full attention if they are to stay with you."—Dimitris Papanikolaou, Associate Professor of Modern Greek Studies, University of Oxford