A few words on Stratis Tsirkas’ “Drifting Cities”

Drifting Cities by Stratis Tsirkas. My rating: 5 of 5 stars.
Without a doubt the best work of narrative prose to emerge from Greece in the post-WWII era. The “Cities Adrift” are Jerusalem, Cairo, and Alexandria, where much of the drama of the Greek involvement in WWII is played out. Deftly interweaving his characters’ personal stories with events that defined recent European history (including the Greek Civil War of 1944-1949), Tsirkas provides a stunning panorama of places, peoples, and events that contributed to the making of post-war Europe.

Perhaps the most interesting and accomplished part of the trilogy is Part I (“The Club”), especially though by no means exclusively on account of its narrative technique. It alternates between traditional third-person narrative, a first-person eyewitness account (by Manos, the protagonist of the trilogy), and a fragmented interior monologue by the half-demented guesthouse owner Frau Anna. The interior monologue is pitch-perfect, and imho much more engrossing than the classic example (Molly in Joyce’s Ulysses). A must-read.

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