Published by ekstasis editions, Victoria
This book is a compass that guides the reader through the vortex of life and the whims of the stock market. Eteo, the Greek-Canadian protagonist, sometimes drags us into the depths of the Stock Exchange where he catches its unseen secrets and sometimes returns us like a mysterious river the waters of which turn back, to memories of his birth and
childhood in Crete. A book that oscillates between yesterday and today, poverty and wealth, good and evil, yet remains steadfast in the universal human values by watching them through the lens of an honest stockbroker who reaches Vancouver’s top while he remains intact. Lyrical, erotic, humane, realistic and at the same time surrealistic, it
captivates the reader as it manages to keep alive the child within by releasing his curiosity through the lens of humanity. The hero learns that man is made for greatness and it teaches him the lesson of dignity, reinforcing within him the power of grace and love.
Manolis Aligizakis creates a novel based on his life experiences and his inter-relational power, and he presents to us a high quality prose by bringing up the true values of life, with fullness, vitality, and persuasion; values which exist behind the conventional values of the Stock Exchange.
~ Chrysa Nikolaki, theologian, book-critic, poet
It’s a dark windy night. Eteocles is about three years old, Nicolas five, and their mother as old as the worry about how to feed her children has made her, as old as any mother who lives in the ruins of war, a woman whose husband is on the front line. It’s a windy night, and the gaps around the frame of the door and the lone window make an apocalyptic music, as if the inhabitants of this hovel are walking through the hallways of hell. Eteocles remembers the scene well. They are sitting around the metal bucket their mother has made into a heating element. She burns wood in it, and the heat reaches out perhaps a meter all around it. They are sitting warming themselves, listening to the wrath of the tempest just a few meters away beyond the frames of the single door and the courageous lone window to the north.
Suddenly from the deadly war of the elements outside a sudden wind floods the room as the door opens. A man stands in the frame gazing inside. It’s their father returning from the war. He stands there for long time, not knowing what to say, how to greet them; he hasn’t seen them for thirty six long months. Their mother lets out a cry, a cry that sounds like the name of the standing man, her husband, the man who had gone to war when Eteocles was just a few months old. Her husband is home at last, and she gets up and calls him inside and walks up to him and hugs him with a fierceness that expresses the emotional volcano boiling inside her. She hugs him for a long time, then she pulls away, and their father kneels and calls his sons to him. Neither of them dares approach this stranger. Eteocles doesn’t know this man at all, while Nicolas, who was two years old when his father left his sons, perhaps has some faint memory of him.
Neither of the two dare move toward the man in soldier’s clothes who calls them again and again until Eteocles observes his feet making small steps toward the open arms of their father and Nicolas follows soon after. The soldier clings tightly to them, saying words the two brothers only feel, the soothing words of a father who has missed his sons, a man who had gone to war without knowing if he would ever see them again. They feel those words, and they cuddle with the man who has come inside their house and ignore the wind that has entered with him and turned the room into a frozen habitat in which the small metal bucket with the burning wood cannot warm more than a meter in diameter around it.
Their mother walks to one of the corners of the room, takes a few pieces of wood and adds them to the bucket. Slowly flames rise and light up the house a little more than before as their mother gets busy finding food for her husband, a few black olives, a small piece of bread, a glass of water from the water pitcher, and he sits with them around the fire and eats, making strange sounds as he chews his food, as strange as the music of the wind outside their house, a strange music that sounds sweet in their ears, for It’s the sound of their father, a sound they haven’t heard for years, the perilous years of the civil war in Hellas.
This is Eteocles’ first memory of recognizing his father. He is old enough to grasp the concept of what a father is and that this man who had come in from the cold is that, though only later will he understand that their father has returned from three years of service in a civil war that has devastated their motherland. Years when brothers killed brothers and fathers killed sons only because they were of a different political affiliation, years of endless pain and suffering that most Hellenes have lived through. And only later would be understand how this war had been infiltrated, guided, and supported by external influences from countries that thrived on discontent and flourished through war and destruction. Still, Eteocles learns all these lessons early enough in his life only to carry the scars for ever.
about the author
Emmanuel Aligizakis, (Manolis) is a Cretan-Canadian poet and author. He’s the most prolific writer-poet of the Greek diaspora with οover 70 books published in more than a dozen different countries and in eleven different languages. At the age of eleven he transcribed the nearly 500 year old romantic poem Erotokritos, now released in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies and made available for collectors of such rare books at 5,000 dollars Canadian: the most expensive book of its kind to this day.
He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, he moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens.
After graduation, he served in the armed forces for two years and emigrated to Vancouver in 1973, where he worked as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker, and studied English Literature at Simon Fraser University. He has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry, which are steadily being released as published works.
His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, Jordan, Serbia and Greece. His poetry has been translated in Romanian, Swedish, German, Hungarian, Ukrainian, French, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbian, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, languages and has been published in book form or in magazines in various countries.
He has published over 80 books in more than a dozen countries around the world and in eleven different languages. He now lives in White Rock, where he spends his time writing, gardening, traveling, and heading Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company which he founded in 2006 with the mission of publishing literary books.
Following the steps of El Greco he finishes all his books with the phrase: Μανώλης Αλυγιζάκης, Κρης εποίει
His translation book “George Seferis-Collected Poems” was shortlisted for the Greek National Literary Awards the highest literary recognition of Greece. In September 2017 he was awarded the First Poetry Prize of the Mihai Eminescu International Poetry Festival, in Craiova, Romania.