Bar Flaubert by Alexis Stamatis, translated from Greek by David Connolly, was one of a lovely parcel of books sent to me by the publisher Arcadia Books. First published in Greece in 2000, the English edition was published in 2007.
Yannis Loukas is editing his father’s autobiography. Going through the family archives, he discovers the manuscript of an aspiring novelist named Loukas Matthaiou. While reading it, Yannis feels as if someone has put to paper his innermost thoughts. But who was the writer of this amazing story and what happened to him? Following in the tracks of this elusive stranger, Yannis’ life takes an unforseen turn. He finds that everyone who met Matthaiou was profoundly affected by his charismatic personality. Driven by his quest to find Matthaiou, Yannis must first unravel the codes in his writing.
Yannis’ quest to track down Matthaiou takes him across Europe, bringing him into contact with a fascinating array of characters and places. There are literary puzzles and personal confusions, and a twist at the end. The setting is over a decade ago now, which added an almost historical element, back into a pre-Euro world.
I quite enjoyed reading this, but find I can’t now remember much about it, having been distracted from reviewing it straight away. Perhaps that’s to do with the detachment of Yannis as a main character, or perhaps it’s just because I’ve been busy… Still, although it was fun, I didn’t find it as satisfying as I’d hoped.