Stories from Thermostat, by Konstantinos Poulis
Athens: Melani Editions, 2014
I first met Konstantinos Poulis on the remote Aegean island of Icaria in the heady Greek summer of 2015—the summer of the “Greferendum” and capital controls, when the fate of Europe seemed to hang in the hands of a tiny nation on the continent’s margins. The thirteen stories in Thermostat (which won Poulis a nomination for the National Literary Prize for debut author) are all set against the backdrop of the crisis but are never quite about the crisis. Instead, they explore, with wit, irony and wonder, the powers and perils of the human imagination. His characters have an exhilarating but dangerous habit of projecting their dreams and obsessions onto their environments; what most drew me to Poulis’ storytelling was its power to unsettle the boundaries between human interiority and the physical world.