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The Great Chimera
M. Karagatsis
Translated by Patricia Felisa Barbeito


ISBN: 978-618-5048-99-0
pages: 384
size: 20.5 x 13.5 cm.


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Eager to flee the parochialism of her French upbringing, and a painful family past, the young and beautiful Marina falls in love with a seductive Greek sea-captain she meets at the port of Rouen. She follows him to the Aegean island of Syros to begin a new life as a married woman in the home of her formidable mother-in-law. Enchanted by the beauty of her surroundings, and fascinated by her husband’s erudite younger brother, she aspires to learn all she can about contemporary Greek culture and live up to the ideals of her classical education.

The Great Chimera

  • Ever since I read Karagatsis’s ingenious take on The Scarlet Letter I have thought it had to be translated into English! The Great Chimera, a story of a woman finding her pleasure in adverse conditions, told without judgment, even with a certain vindication, wraps the reader up in its windy nights on the isle of Syros. We are the woman as she walks down the hill to the port, seeking solace from a sea captain who is not her husband. Barbeito’s translation makes everything real for us. A stunning achievement!

    Karen Van Dyck
    Kimon A. Doukas Professor
    of Hellenic Studies
    Columbia University

    Among the novelists of Greece’s gen­eration of the Thirties, it is Karagatsis whose works still have the greatest  appeal to the common reader. Patricia Barbeito’s dextrous translation of Chimera—the first in English—gives a good sense of why this is the case. A new audience will now discover Karagatsis’ vivid narrative gifts.

    David Ricks
    Professor of Modern Greek
    & Comparative Literature
    King’s College London