This is the fourth collection of short stories by Tassos Kaloutsas (b. 1948), a writer from Thessaloniki. Continuing the course he began with his first collection, The Windfall (1987), he narrates stories whose subject-matter he draws from his experiences. His stories are concerned with the minor or major dramas of the people living on the edges of the large urban centres, in the working-class neighbourhoods and in the villages. These tales of everyday life could not happen everywhere.
Though it appears to be close to reality, his fictional world has been transformed by the mechanisms of an eclectic imagination. From the chaos and diversity of everyday life, the author creates an autonomous aesthetic world with specific forms and values, with depth and sensitivity.
The Song of the Sirens consists of nine wonderful stories that constitute a literary "study of death" from nine different viewpoints. According to tradition, the Sirens entice their victims through their singing in order to draw them into the vale of death (Homer, Odyssey 12, 44-46). In this book, which is one of the finest in recent years, the author, with particular sensitivity, narrates the experiences that are connected with death, with love, with human relations and behaviour, with, that is, the major daily problems that go beyond locality and render the human situation in the best possible way. Through a realistic description of events in a natural setting, the author unfolds his plots and highlights his characters. He narrates their adventures with discrete lyrical tones and with an ironic disposition full of understanding and compassion.
The author brings us into contact again with the values of a long humanistic tradition, blending the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary. From these texts, the reader draws not only pleasure but also a sense of the melancholy that only genuine literature can give.