Exilic Colour. "Summer Visit: Three Novellas" and "The Island/ L’Île/ To Nisi" by Antigone Kefala. [review]
Readers who share Helen Nickas's view that Antigone Kefala's fiction forms 'a continuous narrative which depicts and explores the various stages of an exilic journey' may be pleased to find more instalments in her fourth book of fiction, "Summer Visit". The first of the three novellas is an account of an unsatisfying marriage, told with a controlled detachment that makes its title, 'Intimacy', seem ironic. In contrast, the third, 'Conversations with Mother', contains a series of elegiac apostrophes of the deceased; the connections with Braila and other congruities with a figure familiar from previous writings again encourage an assumption of autobiography. However, it is the middle, title story, 'Summer Visit', that will provide most sustenance for followers of Kefala's repeated engagement with issues in her diasporic identity. The summer visit is to Greece, the briefest of Kefala's stops en route to Sydney, and it provides opportunities for laying ghosts. She revisits the Piraeus orphanage that was the whole family's cramped refuge after fleeing Romania. "The Island" depicts the New Zealand stage of Kefala's 'exilic journey' and revolves around the first love of the heroine Melina. "The Island" was reviewed on its first publication in 1984, so this review focusses on the novelty of the latest (third) edition: a juxtaposition of the original English text with two translations, one French (by Marie Gaulis), the other Greek (by Helen Nickas).