Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Black Greek Coffee by Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou


Title: Black Greek Coffee by Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou
Publishing Date: November 28, 2014
Publisher: Troubador Publishing LTD
Page Count: 192 pages
ISBN: 9781784620356
More Info: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble



"Want to see the darker side of Greek life?

Black Greek Coffee is a collection of twenty-three short stories, most of them set in rural 20th century Greece. Laced with harrowing truths, these stories deal with the darker side of life in Greece – the domestic violence, male domination, superstition and ignorance, the strong influence of religion and suffocating traditions. 

Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou paints a vivid picture of everyday life in a Greek village. Culture, landscape and traditions are a backdrop to the divisions, gaps and barriers that lie between people and their relationships. There is a prejudice and unjustified animosity that hangs in the air around them, dividing and troubling them… 

This series of short stories touches on themes of self-righteousness, religion, migration, chauvinism, illness, loss, death, war, superstition, honour and gender issues. Stories of the domestic, and occasionally reaching into the supernatural, they surprise, educate and challenge the reader’s intellect. 

Written from the author’s own experiences, whether she has witnessed events or met people who have faced the misunderstandings that take place in the book, Black Greek Coffee is an exciting read for any fans of powerful fiction with a sting in its tail."



Review: 

A fascinating collection of short stories revolving around one small village outside of Athens. The dates are not specifically dated in the stories, but you get a sense of reading stories from different generations where some stories remark on characters from before at an older age. The stories focus on the darker side of life among modern-day Greek people. It portrays an image that is not completely unlike other cultures. The people are religious, superstitious, patriarchal, and have defined gender roles who undervalue women. I enjoyed the first 75% of stories more than the last 25%. The stories do not blatantly express the message or happenings in the end, but leave it for you to figure out and reflect upon it. I think those who love short stories and like contemporary fiction will enjoy this book. Greek words are included in the story and for some it wasn't obvious to me what they meant so I looked them up. This could cause some disconnection with the story and make it less enjoyable, but including the Greek words solidified the topic and sense of Greek culture of the book. Sozou-Kyrkou did great at capturing little nuances, like using Greek sayings, and portraying different points of view for each story that readers will be able to grasp life in the village easily.   

I would give this 3.75/5 stars because I didn't love it (otherwise it would have been a 5/5) and there were some minor instances that I felt should have been read through by an editor for better flow, for instance. I personally love to read about the gritty aspects of people. I'm interested to read more from this author and found I really enjoy short story collections. 


This was obtained via NetGalley for review.







About the Author:

Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou was born in a small mountainous village in Western Greece. She travelled to Athens to study in 1985 and has been living there since then with her husband and two children. She holds a BA(Hons) in Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. One of her stories has appeared in the anthology Even Birds are Chained to the Sky and many more have been published online in literary magazines.















       


-Katie
 

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