Two Voices: Amanda Michalopoulou and Karen Emmerich, in Conversation with Scott Esposito [Audio]

michalopoulou-emmerichIn April we had the pleasure of hosting Amanda Michalopoulou and Karen Emmerich in conversation about Michalopoulou’s book Why I Killed My Best Friend, which Emmerich has just translated and published with Open Letter Books.

Why I Killed My Best Friend is a story about two Greek girls, Anna and Maria. They both live the first few years of their life abroad—Anna in Paris, Maria in Nigeria—and are brought back to Greece as young girls in the 1970s. In this conversation we talk about why Greeks were going abroad in that time, why they came back, and how Anna and Maria forge a friendship based around their differences as much as their similarities.

This is also a story very much about politics and theory—writers like Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze are name-checked, as well as the filmmaker Pier Paolo Palolini. Michalopoulou also weaves in events from Greece’s tumultuous 20th century, plus snapshots of wider world insurrection—for instance, a cameo from the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle.

We talk about the state of modern Greece, Michalopoulou’s and Emmerich’s own thoughts on the history covered in the book, and, of course, some of the interesting translation questions involved. Particularly interesting here is the word odiosamato, which has been translated as “frenemies.” This is probably not the best translation, however, as Emmerich discusses here.

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