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Translation of Modern Greek Literature - Andreas Karayan: The True Story

Andreas Karayan, The True Story (Armida Books, NIcosia, 2022) - Translated into English by Irene Noel-Baker

This is the third volume of Andeas Karayan's tetralogy:

The True Story



- The True Story

- Rocking with Mirth

In the age of David Hockney, Derek Jarman, Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol, when bisexuality was at first radical and then trendy, a young man is faced with the ambiguity of sexual roles… we are immersed in cosmopolitan Cyprus, decadent Alexandria, Berlin, London and Athens during the early seventies. These new artefacts by the renowned Cypriot painter are wise and above all FUNNY, quick and sincere, a joy to translate. His delight in words act like successful brushstrokes that are unexpected, deft, (daft), and felicitous, giving us so many new things to see! - INB

In Dark Tales the protagonist, an imaginary figure with autobiographical elements familiar to us from Karayan’s earlier books, is a painter, impressionable and adventurous, seeking the truth about art and life through his travels. He travels to Berlin as the wall is coming down, to Athens during the dictatorship and to Alexandria after the Arab Spring revolt. His footsteps are guided by an overriding search for authenticity in art, friendship and love. Within a confessional narrative the author creates his own world view, drawing on the erotic union of soul and body, beyond social compromise and guilt, as an ultimate good. The novel, both deeply philosophical and political, confronts the innate power structures that attempt to control erotic desire and sexuality, and tries to question our social stereotypes, to shine a respectful light on what is Other. - THE NATIONAL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE 2014

It might be thought that a trilogy - tetralogy in this instance - would concentrate on the unfolding of events. On the contrary, the development here is of an outer and inner perspective, involving consciousness, judgement, appraisal. So whereas Andreas Karayan’s four books contain the same people, places, incidents, relationships, stories, History, feelings, sensations, memories and hopes, dreams and nightmares, they differ in every sequence, seen through a different lens each time. Thus the search for identity, love of all things, zest for life, mystery of its ending, and the entire spectrum of human suffering becomes a river endlessly renewed, so that time becomes the author’s ally. Art and literature have been his inseparable companions on this long journey, gracing his work with words in pictures and pictures in words - pen and the paintbrush in perfect accord. - ANITA PANARETOU

From the author's Introduction to Rocking with Mirth (soon to be published)

In this book I re-inhabit, along with the new stories, some of the old ones, I enrich them, extend or lead them on towards some, ostensible ending. If there is such a thing in one’s memory, with all its associations and impressions raking up places, epochs, people. This is why I cannot write a novel; there you have a structure, beginning, middle, end. The author devises a narrative, colours it in with life’s hues, lends to it multiple aspects of a story but unavoidably the events and characters come to an end. I like to recall figures from my previous books, to communicate with them as I talk to myself, because within each of us there are two selves, normally in harmony, who talk to each other, either to lend their support or to tell each other off.

In the past when people had a problem they opened the Bible, Christians that is. Romans had the Aeneid, ancient Greeks the Odyssey, Moslems the Koran, and they read a passage because they believed thy would find a solution to their problem; so I too have picked out a few important books and when I lack inspiration, I open one of them at random and read. A word, a phrase, connection, they turn into Proust’s madeleine and images begin to flood into my mind. - ANDREAS KARAYAN

Armida Books, The True Story

© Irene Noel-Baker (2022)