Vangelis Raptopoulos’ books V
ENDLESSLY EMPTY HOUSE (2009), seven interconnected stories
What is more dangerous, being trapped inside an elevator, or in the arms of the Holy Modern Greek Family? Can a former urban guerilla make a new start? What sort of madness can a succecful career in the media lead to? Can love be forgotten in the age of Big Brother? How can a pensioner turn into a groper, or worse, prowling the dark of movie theaters? Why would a woman consent to being shared by two twin brothers? And why would a girl enjoy things on the web that she detests in real life?
Seven visitors of Athens’ International Airport who are all related to the seaside resort of Limni Achaias: ordinary folk helplessly sinking into weirdness; radicals seeking normality. Seven stories bound into a chain of black comedy that explores the «endlessly empty house» of individualism.
TALES OF LIMNI: THE GAME, SAD AND DEEP AS YOU, ENDLESSLY EMPTY HOUSE (2011), a trilogy or fifteen interconnected stories
Fifteen tales of mystery and imagination which float between love and death, black comedy and drama. With heroes who are almost always in love, weighed down by guilt and loss, sometimes humiliated or merely vulnerable, but also fratricidal, pedophiles, and incestuous; teenagers and pensioners, business executives and housewives, musicians and urban guerillas, lawyers and television presenters. All stories include, when they do not feature, an insignificant seaside resort called Limni of Achaia, which could be found practically anywhere, and yet nowhere else but in Greece. Tales of Limni is a modular work connected by place and ambience; a novel variation on the unbridled individualism, which, in the era of globalization, infects like a virus the apotheosis of community life: a modern Greek village.
Limni of Achaia first appears in Vangelis Raptopoulos’ book Obsessions in 1995. Since then its presence is prevalent in another seven of his books, including Loula and The Invention of Reality. Tales of Limni is comprised of fifteen stories, which either feature the seaside resort, or use it as a setting of their darkest aspects. These stories had previously been published independently: The Game (1998), Sad and Deep As You (1999), Endlessly Empty House (2009). The collective edition in your hands contains an introduction to the village the writer is doomed to revisit; which, although neighbours on real villages, exists solely in his imagination; along with a relatively detailed map created by Fotis Pehlivanidis; and a sort of an epilogue, published here for the first time, which aims to summarise the entire work.
THE HIGH ART OF FAILURE (2012), non-fiction
This book is something between a diary and a documentary, an autobiography and a chronicle, a confessional essay and a travelogue of the first decade of the new millennium.
It focuses on my family, my friends and my readings; my friendship with fellow Greek authors Kostas Tahtsis, Antonis Samarakis, Menis Koumantareas or Nikos Nikolaides; and my own successes and failures as a writer since for over thirty years my books have challenged and divided even my most loyal readers.
At the same time, the book also deals with ‘brand new’ structures, buildings and practices that were introduced in the beginning of the new millennium: the nightlife of the Bournazi neighborhood of Athens, the Metro of Athens, its new Olympic stadium, the TV series ‘Big Brother’ and the ban on smoking; the rise of women and the fall of men, the web, ecology, globalization, and patriotism. It speaks about the urban uprising of December 2008 in the center of Athens, terrorism, the uproar of the blue collar town of Keratea over the construction of a garbage dump in the area, the ‘party’ of stand-up comedian Lakis Lazopoulos and the ‘Indignant’ citizens who occupied Athens’ central Syntagma (Constitution) square.
In other words, this book outlines a decade that began as the very definition of success: Greece’s participation in the European Monetary Union in 2001 and the 2004 Athens Olympics confirmed beyond any doubt that Greece was finally a part of Europe. Since 2010, however, the collapse of the nouveau-riche illusionary façade and our sinking in a severe economic crisis, has required that we discover the high art of failure…
A contemporary love story with the events of December ’44 at its background.
A lifelong love in the times of instant loves and the nightmare of civil war in the years of the crisis.
F8ALISM (2014), a novel
Vangelis Raptopoulos rewrites Penelope Delta’s very popular ―in Greece― novel Tale With No Name, setting it into a not-so-distant future, where our planet has been ecologically destroyed and people have once more become farmers who live among the ruins of high technology.