Two writers astride two worlds

Two separate book events will bring to Athens some of the issues that are presently of concern throughout Europe. Writers Benoit Duteurtre and Thomas Brussig, from Paris and Berlin respectively, are meeting with local audiences today. Both belong to the generation that experienced the end of the Cold War and the post-Cold War situation. Both are successful in their homelands and their books, which relay observations with comic overtones, have been translated into Greek. They have both visited Greece before, on the occasion of past publications. A greater number of Duteurtre’s books are available in Greece – four of his works have been released by Estia Publishers and it is his latest, «The Little Girl and the Cigarette» (translated by Lina Sipitanou), that has caused him to return. Duteurtre will appear at the Estia bookstore (60 Solonos) at noon today, where he will hold a discussion with Lakis Progidis, an expert on the French-Greek connection in the field of literature. Duteurtre’s new book offers a sarcastic commentary of today’s society. The leading character, a 40-year-old man, takes his dog, named Sarko, for a walk along President Bush’s boulevard. Thomas Brussig became well known in Greece with his book «Heroes Like Us,» a humorous work that describes the new Germany in a way that few have. The book was translated by Stefanos Tzannetakos and published by Kastaniotis. It belongs to the so-called «Wall» generation and, written in Brussig’s penetrating style, became an international best-seller. Brussig will be at the Doerpfeld Gymnasium in Paradeisos, Maroussi (Democritou & Ziridi streets), at 7.30 p.m. today, at an event organized by the Goethe Institute in Athens. The program will include a literary reading as well as a free public discussion. Similarly to Duteurtre, Brussig also lived in the «Old World» until he was 24. Duteurtre, who is five years older than Brussig, was 29 when the Berlin Wall fell, changing his life as well as those of millions of Germans. In this case, the Franco-German link, bordering Eastern Europe on the one hand and with the traditional West on the other, makes its mark in the new literary geography. With one foot in the world «the way it used to be» and the other in the world «as it is becoming,» the 45-year-old writers of the old, deep-rooted Europe have something to say about an entire generation that «became old» before it actually grew old but at the same time was reborn without expecting to be.

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