20 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

Rhea Galanaki, "Eleni, or Nobody" / Our readings (1st year)

Eleni, or Nobody


 by Rhea Galanaki (Author)

David Connolly (Translator)

Northwestern University Press, 2002

18/4/2012
Book 12th

A suggestion of Alexandra Sakellaropoulou



Extracs of book reviews 
translated by 
Christiana Vellou


Stefania Veldemiri
After the first 2-3 pages I was sure that I wouldn't like the book. It seemed to me that it's rather the description of a language, rather than a true language. In my opinion, it seems like a true story, embellished with some romantic imagination.
What I got from the book is that it doesn't matter if you are a woman or living in Greece in the 1800's. As long as your father is a shipowner and has money, you can become a painter, have illegitimate children, work or even tutor the queen's children without facing any problems.

Eleni Papastergiadou
Our heroine, in the  face of her great love, caged her female identity inside a male disguise and thus, punished herself for being born a woman. Eleni dared  to chase her dream heroically in many ways, but the fear of punishment and being rejected by men haunted her to the very end. This is how Eleni lived her life; she was punished for taking  risks, for every moment of joy and love that she enjoyed.
A biography of an intense life. One that, if you remove the sections regarding her children's  loss, I would very much like to live.

Kleopatra Tsakouri
The book of Rhea Galanaki (ELENI or NOBODY) neither enchanted me nor travelled me, in the way that I want and expect from a book. Of course, it gave me information about a life outside the limits of society, the life of an adventurous woman, different and rebellious, the life of Eleni Chryssini-Bouboura. Reading the story, I felt her strength and her weakness, her courage to achieve her dreams, to study painting in Italy with her father's support who advised her to always feel Greek.

Konstantina Chondrogianni
Helen struggled in a difficult period for her desires and passions. She lived in a harsh society for women, where her sorrow prevailed over her happiness. She made great efforts to be accepted for who she was. Not even her relatives supported her. [...]To protect herself from the horrible, toxic effects of her anger and hatred, she remained in that flashback of her life, almost crazy, burning her life's work. Perhaps asking for atonement until death rescues her.

Christina Voumvouraki
I admit, I struggled while reading this book although in the end I read it very quickly. I was left with the impression that it was written exclusively as a lyrical hymn to the painter Eleni Boukoura-Altamoura and perhaps to every other Helen, or in other words, for the symbolic meaning of the "constructed" identity of the woman. Certainly though, not for the reader.




Maria Triantafyllidou


[...] obviously a walk on ancient paths: Helen, Nobody (Homer) , rhapsodies, style intensely poetic, Homer. But I'm thinking, was it necessary? [...] Nevertheless, the author is free.... I'm trying not to misinterpret her.... Still, I would have preferred a more personal style. Hers, not imitations which sound cacophonous. Unbearably pretentious. Her words do not flow, they are chosen for some imaginatively provocative reason, with narcissism. I really struggled with her words, trying to find some order, some correct writing style. In the end, I found her words weak [....]