In The Quest - A Collection of Short Stories Yannis Kyrlis presents a mysterious and dream-tinged collection which focuses on the abstract, the emotional and the hazy difference between dreams and reality. A man loses his heart, and finds it drawn by an illustrator who tries to redeem him. A couple exploring a dump find an object that calls to them, but will they still be in love by the time it reveals its true origin and impact on their lives? Will a young Greek boy find the answer to his existence in a dream, or should he keep running from it?
In this immersive collection of short stories, Yannis Kyrlis effectively combines the surreal, weird, and the deep emotional core that exists within every man or woman.
A great skill in creating unexpected, striking and fast interchangeable images, which penetrate each other. There always comes an abrupt and surprising consequence, which arouses curiosity. The roles are shared in a highly skillful and allegorical way. The text and the plot are often breathtaking, shaking the reader in a way incredibly hard and sweet as well, leaving behind an optimistic atmosphere, which is not obvious at first sight and cannot be precisely defined. The spare writing style and the plot of the stories are successfully abstract and surrealistic. I enjoyed the book so much that I read it all in one sitting!!
An astounding book with cinematic vividness!!! Every one of the intriguing stories is a whole other world. I want to read it again and again.
I wish I had written this book!!! However, I had been so lucky to indulge myself reading the manuscript in Greek and to be so deeply involved in the text, that I decided to translate it into English. I was enchanted by the depth and the richness of diverse meanings, the dream-tinged, surreal and weird writing style. Every time I read the story “THE THREAT”, it blows my mind. When I read it for the first time, I wondered how the story would end, but once I was finished reading the story, it really packed a punch. Any time I read it again, I want to cry and laugh at the same time, excited about its imperceptible irony. Although his every story is surprisingly different from the others, they are all immersed into a dreamy atmosphere. In a conversation with the author, Yannis Kyrlis, I asked him about the role of dreams in his writings and I was touched by his reference to our inner scriptwriter, whom we often ignore, but who has something to tell us. The writer’s use of dreamy imagery initiates the reader into this surrealist scriptwriter and the self-knowledge. The book covers a wide range of situations and feelings, from lack of awareness and conscience, to despair and remorse, from a child’s innocence to the lack of personal responsibility and the psychology of the mass, since in many cases a crowd is similar to a herd of animals (this is the subject of the short stories “THE QUEST” and “THE COURSE OF A CRISIS”). The author has not given names to the heroes of his stories (most of the time), to emphasise the timeless nature of human behaviours and emotions. The hero of the short story, entitled “THE QUEST”, is in pursuit of his internal integration through self-knowledge. In “THE LITTLE GIRL WITH CLOTH LEGGS”, the path towards the hero’s internal integration passes through the restoration of harmony and balance between the two parts of man, the male and the female energy. The little girl with cloth legs symbolises a man’s undeveloped female energy (compassion, empathy…) Twelve strangely brilliant stories: The more I read and go deeper into them, the more I get enchanted by them.
From all the charms of Yannis Kyrlisʼ stories, the most fascinating one is the twist that comes with every ending. The writer employs the art of foreshadowing with real talent, constructing thus masterfully the plot which functions in two layers: in the surface layer, the writer introduces images and ideas which are apparently unrelated to the plot, but which, in the deeper layer, reveal the more philosophical and existential ideas that the writer wishes to communicate. As a result, like every other piece of real Art, the text acquires new meaning every time it is read. On the other hand, his cinematic descriptions bring the story and the characters to life. Finally, the element of the absurd and of the dream-like reality which describe the atmosphere of the stories, and especially of ʽʽThe Questʼʼ, prove without a doubt that this writer has actual imagination. His every story is a whole other world…
Wow... A stunning book! I've never read something quite like this before!
Yannis Kyrlis is a man who knows how to handle dreams and paint daylight with marvellous splashes of darkness. This is a collection with twelve short stories of sweet confusion, translated from Greek into English, and published by Austin MacAuley in 2017.
In The Threat, Kyrlis builds his plot slowly and steadily and holds you there in this eerie story with clear-headed, fresh prose. The Quest is a touching, almost romantic story, and readers might find themselves asking if they have lost their hearts, if a lost heart can still be beautiful. It is an inspiring tale of a man who tries to find himself, helped by a stranger who knows how to recognise and paint the beauty of lost hearts, the Illustrator. Like the Judge in the story, sensitive readers will judge themselves and their actions.
Some stories are very short, some are longer, like Confession in a Café, my favourite story in this beautiful collection. Here we witness again the author’s natural gift to bring in dreams halfway through a piece that is pure realism and take us once more into his strange world of symbols.
If you are looking for explanations, look elsewhere, The Quest by Yiannis Kyrlis will give you none of that.
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