MISSION BOX

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ARIS ALEXANDROU

Symbolically powerful, incisively poetic, Mission Box is a Kafkaesque Odyssey of yearning and disillusionment, aspiration and despair, which placed Aris Alexandrou at the forefront of Greek fiction in our time.

Alexandrou’ s presence in contemporary Greek letters was strongly felt in his distinguished translations of poetry and fiction from Russian, French, and English, in his powerful verse, and finally- in the capstone of his career- the remarkable novel, Mission Box (To kivotio, 1974). Amidst the turmoil at the end of the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949, the anonymous narrator of the novel, writing his «deposition» in solitary confinement, attempts to discover the truth regarding the abortive mission of which he is the sole survivor. As he strives to exonerate himself and incriminate his political adversaries, the narrator presents a vivid account of the mission involving the transport of a box whose contents are secret but are alleged to be of crucial strategic significance.

The narrator strikingly juxtaposes ordinary incidents of barracks life to machinations of Party intrigue, as well as scenes of joy and heartbreak in his relationship with his wife, Rena.In turn, there are moving memories of school days with his pals Christophoros and Alekos (who are also companions in the resistance), inspiring experiences of youthful idealism, and moments of anguish and insight in his lonely cell. Brimming with existential and ideological implications, Mission Box is a memorable literary experience, a telling allegory of issues which have a continuing impact on our lives.