98 Solonos Street, Athens, Grèce
Kostas Hatziantoniou est né en 1965 et a grandi à Rhodes. Il a étudié les sciences politiques et l’administration publique à la Faculté de droit de l’Université d’Athènes et a fait son entrée en littérature en 1990 en tant qu’éditeur du magazine littéraire Remvie. Depuis, il a collaboré avec tous les grands magazines littéraires grecs ainsi qu’avec certaines encyclopédies avec sa littérature, ses critiques et ses articles historiques.
Il a reçu différents prix, dont le prix du club PEN en Grèce, le prix de la société des Lettres chrétiennes de Grèce, et le prix P. Foetas pour les essais. En 2009, il a été sélectionné comme membre du comité des prix nationaux de littérature. Au cours des dix dernières années, il a également écrit The Book of Black Bile (Parousia Publications, 2011) et le roman Agrigento (Ideogramma Publications, 2009).
98 Solonos Street, Athens, Grèce
Translated by Irene Noel
Zia Augusta had appeared at the door. She was the elderly aunt of the family, and Bianca’s older sister. She had travelled to Sicily from Como, which had been her husband’s city. Bowed with age, but still splendid, she kissed Isabella and all her close relatives coldly, with a strict regard to precedence, and then, after gracing everyone else with a nod, she sat apart. She was terse and dogmatic, and her use of words was striking, half archaic. They all revered her without question. Despite her formidable intellect - as one of her great nieces explained to a clutch of people - she had devoted her life to supporting her husband’s career. He was a senator, now long dead. Zia Augusta could see that Isabella possessed greatness of soul; and yet she found fault with her lack of flexibility, and her fixed contempt for appearances. She was sharp enough to notice a connection between Isabella’s bereavement and the presence of Linos, and she asked a niece about him. The niece didn’t know, so she called Don Giuseppe who explained. After spending some time puzzling over whether Isabella’s friend fell into the closest category of intimacy, she decided to wait until after the funeral to quiz him and make up her mind.
In another part of the room, Zio Maurizio, a first cousin of Isabella’s mother, was talking to a gathering of friends and relatives about Tancred of Hauteville, the Norman ancestor of the kings of Sicily. Tall, handsome, he had eyes that were blue and bright, but a little disenchanted - and not through grief at the occasion. His fine, thoughtful face was admirable for its ideal combination of manliness and civility. His was a type of aesthetic, noble life which looked upon moral duty purely as a refinement of the sensibility. Eccentric and inoffensive, he never had a bad word for anyone, but was not particularly kind either. That was, in any case, his guiding principle in life: neither good nor bad. “It is the only way” he would argue, “to be truly tolerant and open hearted”. Recently Uncle Maurizio had found himself attracted more and more by women who were coarse, and works of art lacking in taste. “A strange contradiction” commented Ruggiero. “Not at all” answered Don Giuseppe, who had been silent for a while. “It’s a sign of old age in a real aristocrat”.