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Kassandra and the Wolf Paperback – October 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Karapanou... write[s] of childhood with such lyric ferocity; her Kassandra and the Wolf has [a] jagged fantastic substance... with a vicious pre-pubescent sexual element chillingly added." ----John Updike, The New York Times

"A frank, poetic, uncluttered graph of the state of childhood." -- --Edna O'Brien

From list of 20 best books in translation you have never read:

Karapanou s Kassandra is an uncomfortable mix of the girlish and wolvish. This ambiguous novel is about victims, the victimized and the gray area in-between, leaving the reader on unsteady ground as the story, told in a series of vignettes, rolls towards its inexorable conclusion. --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Margarita Karapanou was born in Athens in 1946 and raised in Athens and Paris. One of Greece's most beloved authors, she was the author of five novels. Her first novel, Kassandra and the Wolf, was translated into four languages, and was originally published in English by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1974. The Sleepwalker has likewise been translated into four languages, and Karapanou's own French translation of the book, Le Somnambule (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), won the French national prize for the best foreign novel, an honor previously awarded to Lawrence Durrell, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She died in 2008.

NC Germanacos is a Briton of Greek descent, who settled in Greece in 1965. He has translated leading Greek poets and prose writers and written his own poetry. For thirty-three years, in collaboration with his wife, the writer Anne Germanacos, he ran a school he founded for American students on the islands of Kalymnos and Crete. He now shares his time between his home in Crete, where he farms, reads, and writes, and San Francisco, his wife's home town.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Clockroot Books (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566567718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566567718
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Ed Davis on April 27, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
geezus. you'll love it, but you'll hate it at the same time. just remember- it's a metaphor.

look up Greece and the Junta.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sid1gen on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This long short story by late Greek author Karapanou could have been better, but in the end it was just pretentious and wanna-be-sinister, it didn't mean anything, it didn't say anything of importance, and it allowed its author to revel in a false sense of depth.

Karapanou writes for Kassandra, a child who may or may not be dreaming some or all of the time; who may or may not be mentally retarded; who may or may not be surrounded by monster-like adults; who may or may not be a monster herself, a psychopath in the bud. We accompany Kassandra as she kills a servant who uses her sexually, but later we find the servant alive; or maybe it's a play on the readers' concept of time. We go with the girl as she helps her uncle commit suicide, or perhaps she imagined the whole thing. Her family is upper class and the adult family members appear to have no feelings. Kassandra seems devoid of emotional attachments that cannot be explained through violence or the thought of violence. She tortures and kills a cat she loves; or maybe not: we don't know. Her grandfather ends up in an insane asylum, but perhaps not and it's a dream. Kassandra is sexually molested by Peter the servant, by a butcher, by the General, by some of Peter's friends, maybe also by her father, or the man she dreams is her father. We don't know because the narrative is "artistically" confused and confusing. The author doesn't know, either but, at least from Kassandra's perspective, almost every single male adult she meets uses her sexually at one time or another, which is statistically almost impossible, so the narrative isn't really deep and is not philosophical, because the repetitiousness of the incidents is such that the impact is lost.

Comparisons with Proust are cheap and meaningless.
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Format: Paperback
I was worried this book would seem dated when I suggested it (and another book called, "The Words to Say It," to my friends who is a child psychologist and psychology professor. He was doing some work with young women who had incest and body shame issues. The books helped me tremendously when I was a young woman. I would have thought the stories might have lost some value in that young people seem to know almost too much these days. As my psychologist friend said, these works of fiction are the REAL REALITY for young women and any woman suffering from child sexual abuse, incest, neglect, and body issues. The books are also fairy tales and puzzles. We cannot always find the words. We cannot always save ourselves from believing the wolf to be grandmother. These stories are short and simple in many ways. Yes, demented because the children in these stories have been injured by the very people meant to protect them. Somehow, like the most frightening of Grimm's fairy tales, the truth will be found through sacrifice. Who are we to know where sanity begins and ends. In the actor? Or in those who acted on him or her?
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