About the Book
A sense of evening pervades Christos Koukis’ Modern Guilt, translated into English by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Elle Arscott. This twilight is historical, ridden by the background of the financial crisis in Greece, as much as poetic, where ‘we are rich in such a way that no bank condescends to accept us’. But like all things Greek, there is the sun, which peeks at odd places and throws light on hidden corners. In Koukis’ world, the sun glints, before setting at nine o’clock behind the Acropolis, even if ‘deep down, the light makes things difficult’.
It is in this sense that Modern Guilt holds a mirror to us, our anxieties and vanities. The earthquakes in Modern Guilt are political. History is ugly and ‘the country does not go to sleep with clear conscience’. Continuing in the tradition of the modern Greek masters, Koukis has use for antiquity, but this antiquity is not removed from history, its pain and betrayal. It provides no respite, only hard lessons. The financial earthquake of Greece is but one more link in that story.
Yet in its moments of crises, hope shines through —‘there is a feeling of life that never abandons us, an honest victory’. There is redemption in love and in the hope of love. Amidst the shadows, for Koukis it ultimately ‘doesn’t matter’, for even ‘Dresden was rebuilt and now it shines’.