Palimpsest: A NovelBy Kathryn Koromilas
“You are a Zelopolian. And your daughter is a Zelopolian. What does this mean? It means that we are all philosophers. Philosophy, you know, it is in our genes. Philosophy, it is in our blood. It is everywhere. It is in the inscriptions on the ancient walls and on the artfacts we find in the earth when we till our land.”
Palimpsest is about high ideals and low obsessions, truth and identity, migration, nationality and race; what we believe and what happens when belief degenerates into fanaticism.
When thirty-year-old philosopher Kally Palamas must unexpectedly leave Coober Pedy to attend her estranged father’s funeral in Zelopolis, in Greece, all she really wants is to escape her stagnant life.
In Zelopolis, Kally meets Ari Paleologos, who writes an account of her father Akindyynos’s life and work, and Ari’s father, Thomas, who acts as her sometime guide and leads her through the village’s history, revealing some things and keeping other things hidden.
Thus begins the unravelling of the life and death of Akindynos, of the modern village and the ancient city, of the modern Greek’s obsession with the past, and of Kally’s own confrontation with her daughter’s death and of her inability to philosophize.
'The narration is colourful, reflective and strewn with deft touches of comedy and irony ... assured and knowledgeable'