KGB Bar Reading

Amanda Michalopoulou was born and currently lives in Athens, Greece. She has published 5 novels, 2 short stories, a series of literature books, and is also a journalist. She read from her first translated novel, Life Is Colorful Outside, which is a collection of 5 short stories. The reading at the KGB Bar Monday night, May 19, 2008 was her first in the United States.
    She first described Life is Colorful Outside as a "peculiar book of fiction, a constructive work of stories." Afterwards, she justified the brevity of her stories by saying that at the time she was writing the novel she also was raising her then 2-year-old daughter. She didn't have enough attention and time for a full-length novel so instead, a series of shirt stories was written.
    She read two of five stories from Life is Colorful Outside, the first was essentially about the inevitable cycles that one goes through when going through a break-up. This piece tells the story of the couples sorrow and frustration through subtle sarcastic dialogue. The relationship consisted of a man and a woman, the man being much older. Amanda explained the story as having two different voices at all time. It switches back and forth from the man to the woman telling the reader from their own perspective what they are thinking. It was initiated with the woman explaining how miserable she was. One line read: "I could always just become an alcoholic to get away from this."  In many ways, the story was like overhearing an argument in public or eaves dropping in on a phone conversation where the people are completely unable to make rational thoughts.
    The second story Amanda read was a phone conversation that she, the author was having with herself. It ironically started with the author picking up the phone, hearing her own voice in disbelief and taking a swig of whiskey as she explains that, "that is what is needed for those difficult moments in life". The conversation with herself continues as the author realizes that the woman on the other end of the line has a completely different life then hers, however, they both are stubborn enough to believe that the other one doesn't really exist. It seemed as if the conversation was the beginning of some kind of schizophrenic state of the character or maybe the author was just realizing that everyone has a dysfunctional relationship with himself or herself. Or maybe that everyone has dysfunctions in their relationships. The stories were very realistic and very touching in a way that one could easily sympathize with the characters that Amanda created.

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