By: Dimitris Lyacos – Translated by: Shorsha Sullivan
Review by g emil reutter
“…a man from personnel would come with a list and stand in the
doorway right there in the entrance the main door to go in standing and
shouting to them to come out and they would call them then take them from
there and remained ten somewhere else fifteen depending on ward and they
would take them to a special place from the evening of the day before and
next day in the morning they would come and take them from there and you
could hear at that time they were going in and calling their names hear those
now saying goodbye to us we were about two thousand.”
And so begins Z213: Exit the first installment of the Poena Damni trilogy by Greek author Dimitris Lyacos translated by Shorsha Sullivan. We are brought into a world created by Lyacos, a futuristic state ruled by a totalitarian government. Lyacos challenges the reader using poetic prose and verse in a mix that churns through the pages with images that are not for the weak of heart. Paranoia feeds the narrator’s thoughts of being hunted across a barren land in a vacuum of time. Where is the narrator escaping from? A concentration camp, slavery, prison? A hellish agony is woven throughout the work and will draw comparisons to Dante but rest assured this is original writing unique to Dimitris Lyacos. Repetitive images and metaphor of stations and trains, of walls, of blood, of caves and pits, of clawing in search of light to the barrenness of plains, of yellow darkness, of darkness, of dark. The rhythmic use of language pulsates through each line of the book, a musicality in the despair.
This translation by Shorsha Sullivan provides an energy transfer from the page to the reader, from the reader to the page. One cannot read Z213: Exit without being cast into the mix of the escape of the narrator. The question is what type of escape is it? A physical escape from the initial hell we find him in or is it an adventure of the mind to block out the incarceration? You can find out by getting the book.
g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here:About g emil reutter