The essays in Ruin link meditations on teaching, friendship, motherhood, love, the financial meltdown in Greece, the shared language of politics and advertising, Occupy Wall Street, and the Parthenon Marbles into a relentless interrogation of identity and loss. Kalfopoulou’s Athens and New York are twinned sites of perpetual dislocation, palimpsests of political, economic, cultural and personal crisis. The refugee, the immigrant, the fragmented I charted in these essays all are studies in exilic living, pilgrims wandering the wreckage of late capitalism.
Praise for Ruin
“Balancing along the boundary that separates memoir, travel writing, and journalism, Ruin courageously explores not only cities (Athens, New York, Freiburg, among others) but states of mind and soul in a pulsing, fraying time. Reading Ruin, we share Kalfopoulous honesty and anger, her vulnerability and nerve, her sense of humor and beauty.”—Rachel Hadas, author of The Golden Road
“In Adrianne Kalfopoulous brilliant book of essays, Ruin, we accompany her on the pitted road of motherhood, friendship, love, the financial meltdown of Greeceand, centrally, the pilgrims journey into memory. Kalfopoulous mediations are more politically incisive than any other book of personal essays Ive read in ages. Her self-possession and attention to suffering and her pitch of self-questioning are sharp and rare. As with the finest essayists, she is like pagans respectful of what the unpredictable might have in store for us. But never too respectful. I am a reluctant traveler, she tells us, but in her company, we never are.”—David Lazar, author of Occasional Desire