Poena Damni: The Trilogy

Poena Damni: The Trilogy

By Dimitris Lyacos

3 book box set

ISBN: 978-1-912524-01-3

Price: £19.95

One of the most original and significant works to have come out of Europe in the new millenium is Dimitris Lyacos’ trilogy, Poena Damni. Despite its short length, the text took over a period of thirty years to complete with the individual books revised and republished in different editions during this period and arranged around a cluster of concepts including the scapegoat, the quest, the return of the dead, redemption, physical suffering, mental illness. Lyacos’s characters are always at a distance from society as such, fugitives, like the narrator of Z213: Exit, outcasts in a dystopian hinterland like the characters in With the People from the Bridge, or marooned, like the protagonist of The First Death whose struggle for survival unfolds on a desert-like island. Poena Damni has been construed as an “allegory of unhappiness” and compared to works of authors such as Thomas Pynchon, Samuel Beckett and Cormac McCarthy.

“Dimitris Lyacos uses a fusion of stream-of-consciousness, verse, and prose to construct this fascinating narrative that approximates a journey made in consecutive nightmares while addressing the big issues that have defined the human experience.” – World Literature Today

“What does the future, that half of time, matter to the man who is infatuated with eternity?” In France, in 1960, this question pressed itself upon the Romanian-born Emil Cioran. Histoire et Utopie was published, likely to the same acclaim (and rejection of acclaim) that marked all Cioran’s career after 1950. Six years later and southeasterly, Dimitris Lyacos would be born in Athens. Despite the distance, Lyacos’ recently translated Poena Damni trilogy revels inside Cioran’s head. […] A guttural experience which is rarely experienced and which is what Poena Damni wants to be from the beginning.” – Cleaver Magazine

“One of the most original and significant texts to have come out of Europe in the past generation is Dimitris Lyacos’ poetic trilogy, Poena Damni. I call it ‘poetic’ because there is no word that quite describes a work that moves alternately between poetry, prose, and drama, and that turns each like a prism in a quest for meaning that yields no final stability but only a ‘further horizon of pain’.” – Journal of Poetics Research