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Koula by Menis Koumandareas
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Koula (1978)

by Menis Koumandareas

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Menis Koumandareasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cicellis, KayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They met every evening at eight o'clock.
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That was perhaps why she never got all worked up over her family, like the other women in the office, who went on and on about their wonderful children, who indulged in praising or abusing their husbands with an equal lack of moderation. Her own husband never gave her cause for such wild overstatements.
The only moments of respite in this continual state of nervous tension were on the evenings when Dimitri had another engagement. Alone on the underground, she gradually came to her senses. She saw herself as a victim of self-deception; she had been carried away by her imagination; she had built up a purely fictional image of the young man in her mind.
Expectation and remembrance, the future and the past, became invested with the same glamorous aura. She could no longer enjoy the present. And so her life went by, caught in this broken, anguished rhythm.
She looked at her fellow passengers and wondered whether they had pretty, well-kept homes waiting for them. But supposing they didn't, wouldn't they still long to get home - even if home meant no more than a hovel, a rented room - back to the place that was their goal, their destination, the place for the sake of which they made this daily journey on the train?
Everything seemed perfectly regulated, predetermined, as if taken care of by some invisible hand. It made her feel God existed here - a boring God, perhaps, but he existed.
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Kolua is a middle-aged wife and mother who falls in love with a young man she meets on her nightly subway ride home from work - and this book is the story of their improbably affair. Attracted to older women (in fact, he occasionally accepts money to sleep with them), the young man introduces Koula to a dangerous new life, filled with deception, seedy bars, and illicit meetings in a rundown apartment. Filmed for Greek television, Koula is a bold and melancholy novel that charts the interior lives of these two characters, fully capturing the range of their emotions, from the anticipation surrounding their first night together, to the grief they feel at the dissolution of their affair.
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