Christos Ikonomou’s collection Good Will Come From the Sea is a dirge for the Greek economic crisis and the devastation it has wrought, a profound meditation on the nature of justice in an unjust world. On an unnamed island, struggling migrants and trapped locals endure the crushing weight of poverty in these four linked stories.
Artemis and Stavros see their dreams destroyed when a local cartel burns down their restaurant; wheelchair-bound Chronis agonizes as a neighbor assaults a young girl. Meanwhile, Lazarus wanders the island in search of his lost son, “disappeared” at the hands of the local mob – the same gangsters who break visionary Tasos’s body and spirit for daring to stand up to them.
As the characters mourn their livelihoods, loved ones, and dreams, only ghostly threads of hope keep them marching toward a future that shows little promise of change. Good Will Come From the Sea is a tender and defiant song of loss, a study of poverty’s toll on the human soul.
The impressive diversity of voices adds depth to the bleakness of these lives trapped on the brink of survival. This powerful collection will move readers with its focus on despairing people battered by forces beyond their control.
— Publishers WeeklyIn these stark stories, Christos Ikonomou gives us a visceral sense of what it’s like to live in a country buffeted by “austerity measures.” “If you’re in need… you’re a foreigner everywhere,” says one of his characters, as we finger the ragged threads of an unraveling social fabric. This book is witness to a nation torn down to the foundation; it witnesses, and it asks a question: Now what?
— Eleni SikelianosThe stories in Good Will Come From the Sea explode off the page then dig beneath the skin. Irreverent yet unabashedly vulnerable, surreal yet grounded in the most visceral emotions, Ikonomou has given us characters that leap up and take hold and never quite let us go. This book is spectacular.
— Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze
Christos Ikonomou continues to explore through fiction a society that, in its dislocation, shakes up everything. Starting with the most deprived.
— William Irigoyen, Le Monde diplomatiqueIkonomou’s short-stories in Good Will Come From the Sea flow like silk – they can be read in one go; his prose just flows.
— To Vima, 2014It is truly impressive how the author has ‘absorbed’ the particularities of Greek society in all its contradictions, injustices, hopes and despair transforming them into a convincing and stimulating prose.
— Yannis Tsirbas, I Efimerida ton Syntakton, 2014
Ikonomou, with literary boldness, ‘rewrites’ the stereotypical references of contemporary Greece: antiquity, Christianity and the West…Ikonomou answers to Shakespearean Hamlet’s perennial question with the following: ‘In this country the big question is not whether to live or not but how to live’ and the answer to this is ‘we are better that what we’ve become’.
— Mikela Hartoulari, I Efimerida ton Syntakton, 2014
All four of the tales here examine themes of exploitation, class conflict, and deep discontent, suggesting that life in 21st-century Greece is far more dystopian than idyllic. A grim set of stories in which characters feel imprisoned and current social conditions don't allow much room for hope.
— Kirkus Reviews