Reading Club: 1948 - Εικόνα

The SNFCC Book Club meetings continue in June, moderated by poet and translator Krystalli Glyniadaki!

On Wednesday, June 29, book lovers give an appointment at the Stavros Niarchos Park to discuss the book they read during the past month.

On Monday, June 27, the meeting will also take place online via Zoom! 

The growing circle of readers will once again have the opportunity to share experiences, feelings and ideas, as well as to make new friends and exchange viewpoints, prompted by the book of the month.

Book of the month for June: 1948, by Yoram Kaniuk.

A few words about the book for June:

In the beginning of 1948, then 17-year-old Yoram Kaniuk, a high school student in Tel Aviv, decides to drop out of school and join Israel’s War of Independence. When the fighting ends, the state of Israel has been established and the life of the author has changed forever.

Sixty years later, he recalls what exactly did—or did not—happen then. “I`m not sure what I actually remember,” he admits, “because memory does play tricks on you and there is no one single truth.” 1948 is the tale of a young man told by his older, wiser self; a young man who threw himself into the battle filled with doubts, his only previous training being a few dives in the freezing sea; a boy from a “good home,” a “mama's boy” as his friends used to call him, who bore witness to events that were much bigger than them, and lived through a conflict that, to this day, is far from being resolved, despite the heavy toll that has been paid in blood. 1948, a memoir that the author himself considers a work of fiction, is his personal take on events, a narrative that speaks of the brutality, the horror, the destruction, and the absurdity of this and any war. But it also speaks of sacrifice, heroism and friendship. The writer and his friends fought side by side by day and buried the dead by night, knowing that the next night it might be their turn. “We may have been handsome and bold, but not very wise. Wise people do not choose to die in a war when they are only seventeen or eighteen. We were children,” he explains. Capturing his readers with his love and dedication for those kids that were he and his friends, the author manages to admirably transform a book about war into a fascinating book about peace.

Yoram Kaniuk (1930–2013) was born in Tel Aviv. Both his parents were born in modern-day Ukraine—his father in Ternopil, Galicia, and his mother in Odessa. His mother’s family emigrated to Palestine in 1909, the year Tel Aviv was founded. At the age of 17, Kaniuk joined the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the Jewish underground army for the liberation of Palestine from the British yoke. In 1948, during the War of Independence, he was shot in the legs by an Englishman and hospitalized at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. In 1958, while living in the USA, Kaniuk married Miranda Baker, a Christian woman, and returned to Israel with her. His relation to religion was always a strained one: When his grandson, Omri, was born, he was registered as being “religiously unclassified” under the Israeli civil law, because he was descended from a mixed Jewish/Christian marriage. Kaniuk then petitioned the Israeli Interior Ministry to change his religion status from “Jewish” to “religiously unclassified” too. The Court approved his petition, removing his Jewish classification in the resident registration. A new Hebrew verb, lehitkaniuk (to Kaniuk oneself), was coined to refer to this process. Kaniuk died on June 8, 2013, at the age of 83. After his death, his body was donated to science. During his lifetime, he published 17 novels and memoirs, seven collections of short stories, two books of essays and five books for children and youth. His books have been translated into 25 languages, but in Israel he only became widely accepted in the 21st century, due to his acute political satire and his “slanted” take on national affairs.

A few words about the facilitator:

Krystalli Glyniadaki was born in 1979 in Athens. She studied Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Theory in London, and later Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She has published three collections of poetry in Greek (all published by Polis Books), the last of which—Τhe Return of the Dead—received the Greek National Literature Award for Poetry in 2018. She has been an officially invited author to the international Istanbul Book Fair and International Izmir Literature Festival; her poems have been translated into English, Turkish, German, Slovenian and Italian; and her first English-language collection of poetry is to be released in the United Kingdom soon. She works as a translator, mostly of Norwegian literature, and as a book editor, and writes pieces for Norwegian online media. Her latest love is online interactive historical documentaries (i-doc), on which she has just finished her dissertation at Bournemouth University.

Wednesday 29/6 | 19.00-21.00
MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN 

For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration 

Monday 27/06 | 19.00-21.00
ZOOM

For adults | Up to 50 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration 

Pre-registrations starts on Monday 30/05, at 12.00

Facilitator: Krystalli Glyniadaki 
Anyone reserving a seat at the Book Club is required to have read the book of the month.

Yoram Kaniuk’s 1948 is available in Greek by Polis Books. 
 

Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.

As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for December's Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.

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