‘And a Kinder Egg For the Kid’ by Christos Ikonomou, translated by Karen Emmerich

Hunger woke him. He’d had a pain in his belly all night. He had his son with him too. His son was sleeping beside him in the bed with his mouth open and his fingers gripping the edge of the blanket as if had fallen asleep afraid that someone might try to take the blanket away.

Ikonomou’s story begins with these short, brutal sentences, and it doesn’t let up. This is a story about a man who lost his job. It is Easter and he goes out to find money to buy some food for his son. He paces the streets of the city. He has a plan to ask his daughter for fifty euros. He is ashamed to be asking but he is desperate.

Ikonomou and Emmerich capture his hunger, his desperation and his pent up violence in stripped-back, wolf-like prose.

Marketed internationally as writing from the Greek financial crisis, this story – like the others in the collection – is actually about Piraeus in the decades before that. Read it. It will stay with you for decades after, as well.

From Something Will Happen Here, You’ll See, Archipelago Books, 2010

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