Something Will Happen, You'll See by Christos Ikonomou
Another book from Ikonomou of stories, more like vignettes, of the daily struggle to put together a scrap of dignity when you have no money, and the economy is so broken in Greece during 'austerity'.
In a thousand years if the world still exists maybe the things that are happening now will have become fairytales. And parents will tell their children stories about strange people who once lived and died for a handful of cash and the children will listen with their mouths hanging open and all these things will seem magical and unreal.
We are born, go to school, work, amass a bit of money, then die. Is that all humans are good for? These stories pick apart the thoughts, dreams, and hopes of the suffering people.
That's what real democracy is. When poor people don't wait for the rich to come and save them but take the situation into their own hands. That's how the trouble starts: with us thinking that the rich will ever help the poor. It just doesn't happen. We live in two separate worlds. They're over there and we're over here. We have to take the situation into our own hands.
As I read this book, there are protests all over the world for Black Lives Matter. People are protesting about the virus too. People are protesting because they don't have jobs. The disparity between the rich and poor is just far, far too big. Let's hope a new world order comes out of the chaos of 2020 and COVID-19.
Give us the mountains, he said, even if we have to eat stones. Like what Kolokotronis said during the revolution. Give us Greece even if we have to eat stones.
The governments have put the common people between a rock and a hard place. I can feel the intense pain, and injustice of their situation in these stories.
If only they had money and she didn't have to work. If only she could read more and travel and go to the theater and concerts. If only she could sleep until eleven and not have to wait before dawn at the bus stop and be ashamed of her job. More than anything she would like not to feel a shock of fear every time the phone rings or she sees a plain white envelope in the mailbox.
I wonder where the author got these stories. I imagine they are amalgamations of stories he heard about his neighbors, family members, or people he saw on the news. I bet many of these situations the stories are based on are very, very true.
Losing your job is like breaking a limb. At first you don't feel anything, Aris said, the break is still fresh and it doesn't hurt. The pain and the fear come later, when the wound cools. When you remember the rent and the bills and the help wanted ads in the paper. The phone calls each morning, the harsh voices on the other end. Sorry, someone else beat you to it. Call again tomorrow. Send us a resume and we'll see – these days they want a resume for a job moving furniture. The pain and the fear come later, Aris said. Aris, who got tossed out into the street with me like cigarette butts without an explanation, just a phone call. Aris, who said he didn't know what he might do tonight – I might hang myself with my belt, he said, or go down to Faliro and drown myself in the see. We'll see. I haven't decided yet.
I've never read such beautiful, angry, and true prose written about losing your job. The people are suffering but life goes on – politicians talk about GDP, 'getting the economy moving', and managing interest payments – while their citizens are trying to just survive.
I really want to find this book in Greek and read the salty language in Greek. I'm still looking for an eBook.
Rating: ★★★★ Book #74 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge