At Twilight They Return


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A Novel in Ten Tales

Zyranna Zateli; Translated from the Greek by David Connolly

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The powerful and stylistically brilliant saga of a family by one of contemporary Greece’s literary masters
Zyranna Zateli’s ambitious multigenerational saga is the story of Christoforos—husband to Petroula, Eftha, and finally Persa; of his promiscuous son Hesychios and the many children left behind following the untimely demise of so many would-be daughters-in-law; and of the sisters, brothers, children, and grandchildren who inhabit a household and a history expanding to near-bursting.
Rich in symbolism and magical realism, this complex and wondrous story unfolds in ten interrelated “tales” in David Connolly’s magnificent translation. Unique in structure, style, and narrative voice, Zateli’s novel, considered her masterpiece, is an ingenious combination of classical mythology, ethnic folklore, and historical events. It is a touchstone of contemporary Greek literature, awarded the Greek State Prize for Best Novel in 1994, and is an essential introduction to this celebrated author.

Zyranna Zateli, a well-known author, radio actor, and producer, was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Athens. David Connolly is an award-winning translator and former professor of translation studies in the School of English at the Aristotle University of Thessaloníki.

“Impossible to summarize such a prolific work: through four generations and more than six hundred pages of comings and goings in time, Zyranna Zateli builds the story of a family in which tragic tales and mysterious beliefs are profusely interlaced. An epic wind blows there, blending archaism with poetry. Although death is omnipresent, the tone is not macabre; no doubt because Zateli’s writing is so intense that it illuminates all things.”—Florence Noiville, Le Monde

“As years go by, this book will be compared to the masterpieces of world literature.”—Dinos Siotis, Diavazo

“Zateli’s world is a place where phantoms of evil lurk, or where indifference can raze lives to the ground, where appearance and essence mutually cancel each other out and cross-fertilise in alternation. A world where phenomena, their verbal reflections, and their existential corollaries trap men into a world of wisdom and doubt, dejection and perseverance, a flickering presence and a cyclical recurrence. This is a book that demands the leisure of time, the investment of empathy but also participation in the playfulness of an experimental, daring voice and storyteller. An ambitious novel about a prosperous, bucolic gens whose sole ambition is the ineluctable flux of life.”—Mika Provata-Carlone, Bookanista

“The superb translation by David Connolly of Zateli’s masterpiece At Twilight They Return weaves Greek folklore with magical realism; like a snake shedding successive skins, ten stories slither through history and fact into the wondrous and the marvelous. A book guaranteed to charm.”—George Syrimis, Yale University

“The stories that intertwine in Zateli’s novel are compelling, but what pulls you through this long book is not just the content but the style, the voice, the simple yet gorgeous fabric of her language.”—Karen Emmerich, Princeton University
ISBN: 9780300200713
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
528 pages, 6 x 9
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