Saturday, 3 October 2009

Somewhere To Belong

"Somewhere To Belong",
Off The Edge, October
2009
My (slow) flirtation with short story collections continued with Ioannis Gatsiounis' Velvet and Cinder Blocks. Ten short stories, all nicely written by the expat journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications.

I met the author during a Readings @ Seksan's session, where he read a chapter from the very same book, designed with two different coloured covers. "The Rat Tooth" was the tale of a Jewish boy who found a bit of bone in his lunch, which sparked ideas to sue for millions over a "rat's tooth" in his lunch. A bit of comedy at the end is the boy's dad starting a fusion restaurant that specialises in things such as "tomyam moussaka" and a "durian-based fish head soup".

It was, like all the stories in the book, of identity, belonging, and the odysseys undertaken by the protagonists to find it. Many of the endings are open-ended, leaving room for the readers to ponder the possibilities.

Among the things he told me was that his name is a Greek version of "John" (or something similar), and that it was pronounced as "Yannis". There appeared to be some confusion as to how it was pronounced.

It's a good book, all things considered. But for some strange reason I decided not to keep it.

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