American Fugue

BOOK REVIEW by Willard Manus

One of Greece's leading young writers, Alexis Stamatis, was in Los Angeles recently, reading from his latest novel, AMERICAN FUGUE (Etruscan Press, Wilkes University), at Loyola Marymount's Hellenic University Club. Stamatis, whose previous books include seven novels and six volumes of poetry, wrote AMERICAN FUGUE after visiting the USA on a 2004 Fulbright scholarship. The book became a bestseller in Greece and has now been deftly translated into English by Diane Thiel and Constantine Hadjilambrinos.

The hero of AMERICAN FUGUE is an unnamed Greek writer with a burned-out past who, while on an American book tour, takes on the identity of a dead man he discovers by the side of a desert highway. This impulsive decision, taken to escape his personal demons, plunges the hero into a dangerous and phantasmagorical journey into the very heart and soul of the USA. Part political thriller, part comic odyssey, part love story, AMERICAN FUGUE is

a complex, multi-layered novel that, like the music of its title,

introduces short themes that find brief expression, only to be picked up by another voice, then another, with the counterpoint ultimately weaved into a dazzling tapestry.

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