A first novel from Fotios Sarris.
The old Greek men in their windbreakers are mad at Alex Doukas. He’s taken down a flag at the pool hall. For the old men it’s an emblem of identity, but for Alex, it’s a symbol of everything he has tried to escape.
For two millennia Doukas boys have been named after their ancestor, Alexander the Great. Or so claims his father; but this Alex is no conqueror. Coddled at home, beaten in the streets, crushed by paternal expectations, as he comes of age Alex yearns only to be free of his parents and their immigrant ghetto. And he almost succeeds, making it as far as a PhD program in Toronto.
But now, at 45, with a trail of incomplete degrees, failed relationships, and bursts of inexplicable rage in his past, here he is: running his father's pool hall, bickering with his cronies, living in the old man's three-and-a-half, his friends the same no-hopers he used to steal comics and skin books with in the distant summers of childhood. Wondering: how did it come to this?
In A Foreign Country, Alex confronts the waste he has made of his life, hoping the confrontation itself might deliver him. He tells a story that ranges from shattered wartime Athens to a Montreal awash with hipsters, from Mile End in the seventies to Greece after the financial collapse. Bursting with life, burdened with tragedy, A Foreign Country is an intimate family portrait and a panorama of an age.