The writer Aglaia Blioumi shows the other Greece in her chronicle of immigration - Wishevoke

The writer Aglaia Blioumi shows the other Greece in her chronicle of immigration

By Ina Akrivou

Often readers identify creator and creation, but this, as we now know, is arbitrary and unfair to fiction. But the influence an author has on his readership is varied and sometimes unexpected.

For example, a writer may write with a moral agenda and his pen influences the reading audience, but his life is far removed from his writing ethics. But what happens when a writer’s path is completely compatible with the principles he espouses? When he dips his pen into the inkwell of truth and inspiration and defends it with the merit of his work and his own morals? Then the readers, as irrefutable judges, are confronted with the ideal image between creator and creation.

We see this in the author Aglaia Blioumi and her novel “Farewell to Stuttgart, Astyanakta”. The way she writes, the experiences she describes, the subject she deals with, and the power of her memory suggest that her work cannot be influenced by a deep humanistic perspective, which is also their author ethics.

And just the motto on the back of her book: “The fate of Romanism is its dispersion.” “We simply dive into the sea and uproot the roots of the seabed,” she anticipates on the pages of her novel what will follow. The topic is particularly current, important and interesting because Greek flight, migration and repatriation are basic constants in the history of the place: “In the late 1950s, after his military service in Cyprus, Pantelis takes a plywood suitcase and travels as a…” tourist in Stuttgart, Germany. He immediately gets a job in the Bosch factory, meets fleeting loves, but also Katerina. Katerina is one of hundreds of Greek immigrants who flooded Stuttgart in the mid-1960s.

Pantelis’ Suitcase contains the stories of the children of second-generation immigrants; and when he opens it with his code, the roots sprout from below “like barbed wire branches”: family stories of persecution from Asia Minor, German and Bulgarian occupation, civil war and junta are closely interwoven with the life of the daughter with the many names Pantelis and Katerina, who grows up in a city in multicultural Stuttgart.

And that’s not all: the book contains many unsolved mysteries: How does a vulture see the social exclusion in Germany and the difficult breathlessness of returning to Greece through his glasses? Who is the evil Astyanakta who forces the Daughter of Many Names to see reality through the left eye of a remembering child and through the right eye of an adult fed by memory?

Such a novel case raises many questions. Using a practical technique for separating the chapters that is beneficial to the reader – favoring date and place – the author presents a work of high standards in modern Greek prose, a rare project of collective self-knowledge, as the panorama of Greek history unfolds on the one hand in the film through the family stories of the little people, on the other hand, these stories are accompanied by an immersion in collective traumas that have defined modern Greek identity.

The author writes truth through fiction, highlighting facts that may be strange but are based on historical events. How much death, tragedy and sadness is hidden in the following dialogue: “The Bulgarians are proud that they did not hand the Jews over to the Germans, like the Greeks did.” “Yes, they are proud of that,” says the Polish professor a group, while the associative thought of the anonymous narrator follows: “Dear reader, no one knows how many Jews the Greeks hid and no one knows how many they surrendered.” . Units in the wind.

The book is full of political events involving occupation, civil war, junta, post-colonization, diaspora, immigration and cross-cultural micro-histories from Greece and Germany, which ultimately form the cultural contexts that surround the heroes in time, such as one of the protagonists, Pantelis.

Pantelis carries a plywood suitcase. The more we read the novel, the more we understand that this suitcase is the symbol of Greek immigration to Germany in the 1960s. In it he hides memories of a politically devastated but also humane Greece, the nosto, the pain of the parents and the childhood of the second generation, sometimes anger, but anticipation, anticipation and the Greek success story of Greek immigrants. The symbol of the suitcase from which “suitcases” emerged is nothing other than the symbolic representation of the Greek dream with regard to immigration.

The language was fluent, without repetitive phrases. The style shifts beautifully as each chapter contains “lyrical wedges” that pique the conscience and unsettle younger generations of readers. Immigration to Germany and to every country has a special importance in the history of the Greek diaspora.

The author paints the pain, the lack of security, the anger, the memory, the insult, the injustice, everything that constitutes the immigration problem, sometimes in a caustic way and sometimes with velvety writing, as if she were painting a painting of times and mistakes , failures, betrayals, struggles and incurable passions.

The work “Farewell to Stuttgart, Astyanakta” ​​not only reflects the whole of Greece, but also Greek-German relations, as both the different mentalities and the common codes that are acquired through living together in the now multicultural Germany are equally clear be outlined. Past and present, stretching from the 1930s to Crisis-era Greece, function as a single and inseparable entity captured by the Creator’s three-dimensional eye.

A novel that undoubtedly deserves to land on the cinema or television screen through episodes based on the chapters of the work, because it presents an important innovation: it can work both as a historical film and as a contemporary social series, which touches on the contemporary issue of immigration and intercultural development of modern societies.

Aglaia Blioumi, who was born in Stuttgart in 1972 to Greek immigrant parents, is a graduate of the Department of German Philology at AUTH, a doctoral candidate in the Department of German Philology at the Free University of Berlin and serves as an associate professor in the Department of German Philology at EKPA. He taught “Creative Writing” and “Research Methodology” at the Hellenic Open University and “Semiotics of Immigrant Literature” at AUTH. He published monographs, monographs and studies on German literature.

She made her literary appearance with the German-language short story “The Stranger in Me” in the anthology Deviations and Transitions, 1997. Her poems have been published in various German-language and bilingual (German/Greek) anthologies. Farewell to Stuttgart, Astyanakta (Kedros 2022) is her first literary venture in Greek.

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