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Published: 2014
ISBN Print: 978-1-921556-41-8

The Demons of Athens

The narrator of the books starts a journey of discovery around the meaning of home, in a diary form, with a trip to Athens in the midst of the economic and social implosion of the country.  He fuses fiction, reportage and autobiography in an attempt to illustrate the social collapse of Greece after 2009 and its subsequent lack of creative imagination.  The book consists of brief snapshots based on episodes that take place in Athens, ranging from people eating rotten food in garbage bins, to contemporary political discussions at the Greek Parliament and the representation of the struggle of ordinary people to make their liviing.  Demons of Athens belongs to the hybrid trans-generic literature which found its best expression in books such as Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana, Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines and Jonathon Raban’s Coasting.

“This is a courageous, angry and powerful book, in which like James Joyce, Vrasidas Karalis can be said to have written “a chapter in the moral history of my race” Nicholas Murray (British biographer, poet and journalist)

“To get some idea of what Karalis is attempting here, imagine the narrator describing events that took place between 2011 and 2013 as a sort of modern day Virgil leading the reader into the inferno of today’s Athens and post-Olympics Greece.  It is a nightmarish portrait of a city falling apart: civil order, with a sort of pre-revolutionary combustibility, constantly collapsing into anarchy – graffiti, “Euthanase your democracy” everywhere.  The whole city seems to be living in the tension zone, and even when he visits one of the islands a quiet square suddenly erupts into violent conflict in front of him.  He visits old friends, and towards the end he is caught up in a brawl with Neo-Nazis.  The dialogue often comes across like prepared speeches, but Karalis captures the atmosphere of the place with vivid immediacy.”

Review by Steven Carroll – Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald – 27-28 December 2014

“The Demons of Athens is unique in the opinions it expresses and does not isolate the economic crisis of Greece as solely a Greek issue; rather, it is addressed to the wider community, namely Australia ….. “

Not the usual postcard from Athens – reviewed in Neos Kosmos – 10 December 2014

Ascent from the Inferno – reviewed in Australian Book Review – April 2015 


About the Author

Vrasidas Karalis

Vrasidas Karalis holds the Sir Nicholas Laurantos’ Chair in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Sydney.  He has published extensively on Byzantine historiography, Greek political life, Greek Cinema, European Cinema, the director Sergei Eisenstein and contemporary political philosophy.  He has also worked extensively as a translator (novels by Patrick White) and the theory of transcultural translation.  He has edited volumes on modern European political philosophy, especially on Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis.  His recent publications include A History of Greek Cinema (Continuum/Bloomsbury 2013) and Greek Cinema from Cacoyannis to the Present (forthcoming by I.B. Tauris). He has also published Recollections of Mr Manoly Lascaris (2007) which explores diasporic identity through the life of Patrick White’s partner.

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