Each story demonstrates compelling depth and breadth, and involves heavy emotional stakes; perhaps the most nerve-wracking are the author-fan confrontation in “So You Like Literature” and the estranged father-daughter relationship in “Rain at the Construction Site.”
Ersi Sotiropoulos immediately and effortlessly makes the reader a complicit and engaged companion, whether in the best of her often unusual short stories or in her novels.
With her stories, Ersi Sotiropoulos steadily sinks us from security into the unforeseen.
I loved these stories. They are vintage Sotiropoulos: electric, vivid, sensual, surprising.
Ersi Sotiropoulos’s short stories are jaggedly sharp and unsettlingly beautiful—and they are like none other being written today in any language. You have to go back to Cesare Pavese to find short fiction from Europe this vivid, lived-in, urgent and artful; Sotiropoulos writes as if her life depended on it. Landscape With Dog and Other Stories is a marvel.
The stories in Landscape with Dog are pure electric, with the passion, energized wit, and inevitability of the lyric poem. Like lines from a favorite poem, they stay with the reader year after year.
Snapshots of life that say the most by remaining silent. Writing that breathes, language that reveals by way of silences. People, presented as if in a still life. Following their fate while living in doubt… And death always present. The only antidote, even as a spasmodic movement, is love.
Like her characters, the author, too, seems not to know from the beginning where her text might lead her. That’s why she doesn’t prop it up with a well-designed plot. On the contrary, she grounds her text on the poetics of the unforeseen: on a curious object, a thought, a conversation, on an indefinite movement, on a news item or an unexpected event, on some image—in other words, on elements which, working as catalysts, reveal things to us.
There’s no doubt that Sotiropoulos knows how to charm her reader by way of the subterranean game she plays with the uncanny, her artful manner of presenting figures that we can examine from many angles, while they themselves can only survey their surroundings with a partial eye. This isn’t, of course, an easy thing to do, and the writer who attempts it should have a very firm footing. And that’s precisely the case with Sotiropoulos.
The writing [is] beautiful, evocative, deeply moving… Zigzag Through the Bitter Orange Trees has been brilliantly translated by a distinguished American professor emeritus of classics… The translation pulsates with vigor and is full of nuance.
The perfect gateway for the reader into a modern Greece where the classical hero is forgotten and “sits all alone in a yard, baking in the sun.” Part Marguerite Duras, part Faulkner, with a dash of Fellini's Amarcord thrown in for comic spice, Ersi Sotiropoulos’s pungent novel will tug your heart and tease your intellect. Celebrate this writer’s long-overdue first publication in America by reading her now.
Like a magical juggling act, a polyphonic, deftly elegant novel… Beautiful language (in an excellent translation), lyrical at times, and always poignant and precise.
[A] compellingly rich and readable story, which, thanks to the flawless translation of Peter Green, carries powerfully into English the stuff of life at its most poignant and revealing. Sotiropoulos is one of the most challenging, uncompromising, and original novelists writing today.
Before picking up Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees, be forewarned. The book is irritating, scary, beautiful, and ugly. It makes you want to scratch your skin and take a shower. It makes you want to weep over the human condition. It makes you want to laugh. It is confusing, touching, and revolting. It is also brilliant… Sotiropoulos explores alienation and anxiety, with the danger of personal annihilation always near at hand… Sotiropoulos can be unnerving, but she writes with the pen of a poet, and limns, with great delicacy, feelings just under the surface…
What a pleasure to have Ersi Sotiropoulos in English at last. Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees is vibrant and tart and a delight to read.
Alienated idealists obsessed with sex, provocative youth, anorexic women, bloodsuckers, and frustrated intellectuals. Other truths are hidden. Ersi Sotiropoulos pursues these in an effort to illuminate the existential crisis that plagues contemporary Athens… Sotiropoulos knows from first-hand experience: If the truth is one interpretation of reality, we can only reach it through a series of disillusionments.
Ersi Sotiropoulos is a writer of the city and the modern age. Her subversive gaze and equally subversive imagination compose scenarios that seem extreme, although they are simply the other side of reality, its reflection in distorting mirrors of an enormous circus which is nothing other than life in contemporary Athens.
319 pages of a bullfight with the protagonists sometimes taking on the part of the bull, other times the matador, and yet other times the referee. A fast pace, bold action—which the arena demands—with victims and victimizers in a story that can be read as a thriller or a book-length poem.
With the central character a counselor to a minister, the novelist scrutinizes the conduct of an elite, raising ethical and other dilemmas with the pace of a thriller in a delightful novel that can be read at one stretch.