Micra Poulakia: Little Birds, A Collection of Contemporary Greek Stories

Agios Tsambikis

A not-so-young childless couple make a pilgrimage up the precarious, steep mountain trail to Agios Tsambikis, a monastery set high atop a rocky southern peak of Rhodes that overlooks a string of blonde sand beaches. Waiting in the car at the trailhead are the husband's parents, old-timers now who remember well the legend of the monastery frequented by infertile women, praying the saint, Agios Tsambikis, will produce for them grandchildren, though they know well the path to that dream is a rocky one.

Another Sunday Dinner

Relatives visiting from the states pass the afternoon enjoying an old aunt and her unmarried daughter and a sumptuous feast the two village women have prepared. The chatter at the meal is about the past, about the war and the junta, about relatives whose ghosts seem to circle the table.


Hector and Andromache

A parody of the Hector and Andromache myth, set in turn-of-the-millennium Greece, this story unfolds in sweet dollops as five women of rich character share drinks in a plush hotel lobby and exchange lively banter with the piano player trying to take at least one of the women home with him.

The House

In October of 1980, Zoe Hanziheratae begins a diary and what she thinks will be the chronicling of her journey toward an arranged marriage that will find her settled in the small villa her family has finally providing as dowry. The villa looks out over the rolling blue sea, and in the sea Zoe sees all the beauty that is before her. But as the years progress, her bright blue view begins to fade to gray.

Interview: Alexandros & Maro

In an interview not unlike those of Studs Turkel, the narrator asks naïve questions of a local man and woman in their eighties who experienced World War II in the village adjacent to the Nazi command camp near Gennadi, at the quiet end of the island of Rhodes. The answers she get, the stories, are not at all what she had expected.

Marissana

In 1985 a couple who emigrated from Greece after the war return to Greece and reacquaint themselves with relatives they have not seen in thirty years. They meet a charming second cousin named Marissana whose husband is a philandering tour bus driver and as Marissana becomes more and more enamored with her tourist relatives, the more we learn about the harsh realities modern Greek women must confront.

Myths and Summer Seas

A love story between a local Greek boat captain and an unnerving, unhappy tourist who appears determined to raise the hackles of the proud, emphatic captain, this story examines the nuanced and obvious differences between the courtship practices of East and West, and throws up the question: is the woman attracted to the captain, to the captain's mother, or to the aired majesty of Greece herself?

The Odyssey

In what is clearly a reference to the well-known Greek myth, travelers making their way to and inside modern Turkey find that nearly all of the assumptions they have held about the country and the Turkish people reflect, more than anything else, their own undeniable ignorance.

Sizmo

Caught in the September 1999 earthquake in Athens, visiting academics find themselves trying and failing to safely get out of the city back and back to their coastal accommodations. With few options open to them, they find themselves in a position of peril, wondering if they will end their journey as a statistic.

The Sun Shone

A woman who has lived in Greece for some time and now finds she must leave wanders about the airport in Athens pushing a luggage cart, wishing she could change her fate, wondering when it was, why it was, she fell in love with this harsh, charismatic land.

The Watermelon

An American couple, tourists in Lindos, on the south coast of Rhodes, argue about buying a watermelon, the husband maintaining that local vendors see them only as wallets, the wife seemingly naïve in her optimism. As they return to the airport in their rented car, over the spine of the island, they are trying to settle their dispute when fate intervenes and settles it for them.