The Proofreader by Alexis Parnis, translated by Thomas Hatton and Byron Baizis - review by Prabhu S. Guptara

Prabhu S. Guptara

Beating the System

The Proofreader


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Marxists are usually energetic and vocal people. Disillusioned Marxists can be even more so. That is the only conclusion possible from an acquaintance with the number and variety of books, magazines and articles published by both groups.

Alexis Parnis, like many Greek intellectuals and artists in the Forties, was sympathetic to Marxism. At the end of the War most of them fled when the Allies invaded Greece and began to suppress the Marxist-dominated guerilla groups who had driven out the Nazis more or less single-handed. Parnis went first to Albania and then, via Yugoslavia and Tashkent, to Moscow where he established himself as a poet and dramatist. He returned to Greece in 1963 and branched out into screen as well as fiction writing.

The Proofreader is the first of Parnis's works to be available in English, and it is marvellously rendered, in the way that the best translations effectively obscure their alien origins. It shows the results of his apprenticeship to drama and poetry: there is meticulous attention to plot, the humour is

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