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Skopelos: A narrative about a quest for Ithaca Kindle Edition
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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This is a love story about two men. I’m normally not inclined to stories of homosexuals since it’s been played out as every TV show and movie has a gay angle now. What makes this story different is that it isn’t so much about love as it is about missed opportunities.
We’ve all wondered what could have been. What if we had taken that job, would we have met the love of our life there? Had we accepted that party invitation instead of staying home, would that had been the night you met your one?
The story takes us across Europe by plane and boat to arrive to the resort island where the paperwork must be filled out. At one point the narrator, Paul, talks of how there are two of him. One is the asset manager, the other is one who still harbors strong feelings for the man he was with briefly, but never stayed with. We sense that Paul number two is going to be a major protagonist in this story. Through conversations with friends, family and neighbors, he learns that his lover may have made a mistake in moving on as well. And now he’s passed on and that’s that.
By the end, the story made me feel like I should not settle for comfort as true happiness sometimes hurts and it takes effort. Comfort is so easy, but someday you will be in your 60s like Paul wondering why you didn’t love more.
Some have described this as a light read, maybe because it is a novella of around 190 pages, but I found the themes and subjects to be much meatier than the 400 page doorstops that pass as story these days. If I forget your story a few hours after I’m done with it, it’s a light read. If the themes of a tiny novella stick with me and affect my outlook on life, then it’s a masterpiece.
There are faults. The translation isn’t perfect—grammar, punctuation, and structural errors dot the narrative. The format includes no paragraph indentations (which causes some parts to read as long, run-on thoughts), although there are section breaks within chapters to divide up the story. And the subtitle is a bit generic. The lone narrative fault regards the lead’s climactic decision, which didn’t seem to have much grounding for why it should be a difficult one.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. Unlike traditional Hollywood movies where late-in-life changes feel forced and trite, the lead’s coming of age at 60 feels well-earned.
It is not until Dimitris dies, 25-years after the end of their affair, that Paul’s thoroughly organized life is thrown into chaos. He learns that the lover he had shunned had never quite forgotten about him, that Dimitris had even named him in his will, leaving his house in the beautiful Greek island of Skopelos to him. This unexpected generosity and the sudden realization that Dimitris had loved him to the end is the last straw, which, as the saying goes, breaks the camel’s back.
Skopelos is a no-holds-barred account of one man’s personal journey, soul searching and regrets. Told in the first person, the story offers insights into Paul’s strict religious upbringing, the workings of his mind, the influence of his parents and the reasoning behind his every gesture. This bespoke literary journey is a curious, rare, and stunningly unhinged self-flagellation that, mercifully, results in liberation.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is mainly written in the first person past present tense which I tend to not like.Read more
Skopelos is about an elderly banker who has always denied being gay. It did not fit in with his strict Christian upbringing.Read more