Vic City Express

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Pre order now — Pub date: 15 Sept.

This story could happen anywhere. Today the place is Greece, wracked by a crisis that has pushed people to the brink.

Two strangers meet in a train headed for Athens. One spews out his disgust at the foreigners and the poverty that have invaded the neighborhood he calls home, Vic City. He even has a “final solution” in mind. The other, seized by fright—or is it resignation and apathy?— squirms as his haughty silence gives way to voyeurism and to political correctness.

While the former, uninhibited, lashes out at the economic crisis in a violent racist rant, the latter, troubled, checks his email about the latest health treatments aimed at him and his family. Along the way, we get glimpses of the forces that have destroyed a society and left people rudderless.

Vic City Express seizes the anxieties of our dystopian globalized world.

Vic City, kiddo! You know, the Victoria subway station. Nobody could get us out of there. And now you don’t even dare walk by outside. They’ll close down the street and fight it out. One race against the other. Some of ’em fell down and guys were kicking them while they lay there on the street. Traffic was blocked. Like, it was blood on the sidewalks.”

(Translated from the Greek with and Afterword by Fred A. Reed)

Yannis Tsirbas is a novelist and playwright born in Athens in 1976. His short stories have received national awards. Vic City Express (2013, Nefeli) was short listed for the Greek National Literature Award. He was also the co-screenwriter of the award-winning movie Amerika Square, which was based on Vic City Express. Yannis Tsirbas also lectures in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Athens.

Fred A. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation from French to English. His Greek-to-English translations include works by Nikos Kazantzakis. In addition to translating, he is a respected specialist on politics in the Middle East and is the author of seven books of nonfiction.


Praise for Vic City Express in the original Greek and in French

“Yannis Tsirbas has produced a densely written story on complex issue in a mind-blowing language.” Demosthene Kourtovik, Ta Ne

“A provocative non-dialogue.” Le Monde

“In these times with images that lie, a necessary antidote.” Daniel Bégard, Olé

“Incisive, efficient, recommended.” Oedipe Purple

“A remarkable sociological and anthropological comment on Athens today, this small book is a must, and is promising for the author’s literary future.” Kostas Aorastos, Bookpress

“In prose and in fighting, watch out for the little guy. The brevity of this story is equalled only by its muscle. Like a blow to the gut. It makes you feel the harsh reality of a society in crisis that knocks you over, moral vacuum, social violence and racism that we call ordinary until it becomes criminal. In short, 75 pages to convey the banality of evil that is eating us away. Powerful!” Philippe Guazzo, Le comptoir des mots, Paris

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