Little Infamies: Stories

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Cunning, fantastical tales about a Greek village of the imagination, from a startling new talent

Panos Karnezis’ remarkable stories are all set in the same nameless Greek village. His characters are the people who live there–the priest, the whore, the doctor, the seamstress, the mayor–and the occasional animal: a centaur, a parrot that recites Homer, a horse called History. Their lives intersect, as lives do in a small place, and they know each other’s secrets: the hidden crimes, the mysteries, the little infamies that men commit.

Karnezis observes his villagers with a worldly eye, and creates a place where magic invariably loses out to harsh reality, a place full of passion, cruelty, and deep reserves of black humor. These stories recall the masters of the form–the wit and sophisticated playfulness of Saki and the primal fatalism of Prosper Merimee–but they are utterly original and prove that Karnezis is one of the freshest new voices in English fiction.

“These fierce, twisted, and darkly funny stories are set in an unnamed Greek village, in what might be called the eternal present. Karnezis, a Greek writing in English, has a sharp, unsentimental eye for contemporary Greek life, while deftly adding intimations of the pagan past, as when a centaur in a travelling circus demands a raise. The connecting thread here is the spectacular untrustworthiness of the village’s inhabitants, who are as wily as Odysseus: Father Yerasimo, the deeply pragmatic priest, engineers a miracle in front of a visiting bishop to impress his congregation; the one-armed Dr. Panteleon finds a loophole in the Hippocratic oath.” The New Yorker

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