‰Û÷Around the Lagoon‰۪ is one of Papadiamandis‰۪s most finely crafted and densely written stories. Unusually, it is written in the second person and addressed to a ‰Û÷friend‰Û÷, who can be seen as the narrator‰۪s younger self. The narrator evokes his childhood experiences of unrequited love and betrayed friendship amid an idyllic natural setting.
The lagoon around which the story is set is situated immediately to the east of Skiathos town and is separated from the bay by a strip of land, some of which is still occupied by the boatyard that Papadiamandis describes. The runway of Alexandros Papadiamandis Airport now covers the whole of the western part of the lagoon but, despite this, much of what remains seems to have changed little since Papadiamandis‰۪s day, and it is still a rich wildlife habitat. As is usual in his stories, ‰Û÷Around the Lagoon‰۪ combines a plot involving individual characters with descriptions of work, customs and manners practised by the whole community. Work plays a major role in this particular story, especially in the detailed and vivid descriptions of boat-building, the preparations leading up to the launch of a boat into the bay, and the launch itself with its associated traditional ceremony and the celebration which follows.
This translation of ‰Û÷Around the Lagoon‰۪ is a revised version of the translation which first appeared in Volume I of The Boundless Garden: Selected Short Stories by Alexandros Papadiamandis (2007). It has been published as a separate text because of many requests for bilingual editions of Papadiamandis‰۪s stories with his inimitable Greek facing the English translation. Peter Mackridge‰۪s Introduction helps the reader to enter into the spirit of the story and situates it within its contemporary European literary setting.
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