Written Kisses by Yiannis Efstathiadis is a series of short prose pieces for a son who died at the age of 25. Far from plunging him into grief and unendurable pain, the father-narrator’s loss makes him recall cherished moments he spent with his son, and the work becomes a hymn to life.
The death of a loved one is the starting point for an emphasis on the materiality of living existence. A universe of favourite places, streets and objects that well up from the depths of memory to the surface of the present create an atmosphere of love and tenderness, and the two discrete identities of the narrator – as both father and writer – forge a single entity.
The book is charged with emotion, but the subtle, low-key tone of the narrative ensures that the lasting absence-presence of the beloved son never overpowers the reader.
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