CULTURE

Loud society of the soft-spoken Pericles Monioudis

An up-and-coming author of German literature, at the age of 35, Pericles Monioudis has already secured his position in the broader German literary field, while his novels have achieved recognition by both the public and the critics. An allusive writer, Monioudis uses his soft-spoken characters to describe a loud and complex society. Since 1996, the year he took up residence in Berlin, Monioudis has been living in the center of a new, cosmopolitan Europe, where local stories take on a universal dimension. Of Greek origin, Monioudis’s parents were born in Alexandria and moved to Switzerland in 1964. He was born two years later in the French Alps. Given that his parents were the only Greek-speaking people he came into contact with, the German language gradually became his communicative tool – improving his Greek, however, remains one of his goals. The author’s first novel «Palladium,» was recently translated and published in Greek by Estia Publishers (translation by I.A. Apostolou). A sensitive novel, it presents a bubbling underlayer and a calm surface. Your novel «Palladium» is simultaneously a love story and a journey toward self-knowledge, as well as being a work that makes the city of Berlin into a literary entity. What exactly were your intentions with the novel? It is rather difficult to talk about intentions when discussing art in general. A literary work has its own parameters, its own truth. I like presenting the reader with various paths, to lead him toward some dimension or a certain character. The work takes on a new life with every reader. I do not agree with the notion that the author’s aim should be to offer everlasting truths. The book’s structure reminds one of chamber music. It is compact, offers minimal action, though it is dense with meaning. Behind a surface of self-control, the central hero seems to be in turmoil… I agree. I enjoy describing society and human relations through a character who, at one point, begins acting as a go-between. Eventually this leads to examining the reflection of society, with relationships outlined through his choices. «Palladium» is a modern novel in the sense that it allows the reader to make his own conclusions. Are you writing more about modern society or modern heroes? I aim to achieve the former, while actually doing the latter. Society is reflected through the hero’s point of view. Do you feel you belong to Germany’s new literary scene? Yes, in the sense that I write in German and I grew up in German-speaking Switzerland. I place myself in the German tradition, which has roots in Eastern Europe and classical modernism.