Poena Damni: Nyctivoe

By Dimitris Lyacos

Price: £9.95

ISBN: 1 904886 11 6

Translated by Shorsha Sullivan

Nyctivoe is the second book in the Poena Damni trilogy. This version includes an enhanced CD with audio performance, slide show and a video by Gudrun Bieltz.

Developed over the course of 15 years, Dimitris Lyacos’s epic trilogy Poena Damni is a sombre allegory exploring the utmost limits of the human condition. Nyctivoe forms the central panel; it concerns the staging of a verse play in a grim inner-city setting.

Nyctivoe unfolds as a pattern of intermittent monologues – solitary visions of characters apparently in a state of trance. While the setting suggests elements of realism (a crashed car, distant trains, a fire, the beat of the sea) the text hovers on the brink of the metaphysical – dense and allusive dreamlike and fragmented, yet also concerned with linear narrative.

Cast in a structure reminiscent of Greek tragedy and No play, and interspersed with biblical references, Nyctivoe is at the same time a contemporary view of the underworld, to be feared, but perhaps also desired. It is a quest for hope that becomes more distinct even as its characters recede from the world of the living.

The recorded performance accompanying this edition is one of many possible avenues through which this complex and ambiguous text might be approached.

For more information visit Dimitris Lyacos’s website.