The latest book Omonia has published in the Neo-Hellenic Literature Collection is the novel Olya. Two Winters and One Spring (Athens, 2008). A realistic picture of post-Soviet Ukraine, the book stands out first of all by the way it is written. In between the chapters narrating the action, the author inserts notes from the diary of a Greek diplomat serving in the capital of Ukraine. The diplomat attentively watches, from a distance, the new society looming out after the fall of communism and strives to understand it. Olya, the blue-eyed 18-year old daughter of a woman who is a university professor, attempts to escape life in an impoverished town through her relationship with a member of the local mafia. But a murder in her new entourage changes everything. Unexpected images and impressions come in a rapid succession, while the diplomat finds more and more aspects he shares with the people around him. The diplomat and Olya see the same things from different vantage points. Their paths cross without them having ever met, due to the mother’s desperate efforts to save her daughter.

Published by Periplous/Dionysis Vitsos Publishers in Athens in 2008, the novel, already translated into Ukrainian(2016) and currently being translated into Russian, is marked, beyond the original composition – actually there are two books in one – by sincerity and the warm way characters from all walks of life are described, an approach initially alien to the narrator. The book also includes aspects from the recent past of the country (the Chernobyl tragedy or the Second World War) or about the Hellenic presence in Ukraine, from Antiquity, through Byzantium, to this day.

The author, His Excellency Vassilis Papadopoulos,formerambassador of Greece to Ukraine,also accredited to the Republic of Moldova(2013-2016), has been Greece’s ambassador to Bucharest since October 2016. In his foreword to the Romanian translation, the author notes: “Having come to Bucharest from Kiev, finding and entering a new society, the Romanian one, I was surprised at first to realize that people in Romania see life and the world much like the Ukrainians. That, I believe, is due to two elements. On the one hand, as neighbouring countries, Romania and Ukraine have shared the difficult 20th century political, economic and military developments in the region, while on the other hand, both countries had a similar regime for several decades, a trial for human nature and human values, leading to similar traits and reactions.
“Therefore I thought many of the happenings I described in the novel Olya. Two Winters and One Spring, related to Ukrainian mentalities and circumstances, are familiar to Romanians as well. The human types and their nature is the same in Romania, too, and many of the social aspects I pictured are shared. Then my book could be well understood and arouse an interest also in this country, where I am serving as an ambassador, after Ukraine.”
Born in Athens, in 1960, Vassilis Papadopoulosstudied law, graduated in 1982 from the University in his home town and then obtained two master’s degrees (international law in 1983 and European Community law in 1984) from Nancy University in France. Since 1985 he has been in the foreign service, holding positions at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at Greece’s ConsulateGeneral in San Francisco, USA, or at the Permanent Mission of Greece at the UN in New York. He served as first secretary at the Greek Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand (1996-1999), ambassador of Greece to Ukraine, accredited to Moldova as well (2013-2016), and since October 2016 he has been ambassador of Greece to Bucharest. He has given lectures on themes related to philosophy, the philosophy of culture, language (Language as a vector of culture. The case of Greek, Kiev 2013) or literature (Yorgos Seferis between diplomacy and poetry, Bucharest, 2018). Author of several works on international relations. Simultaneous pursuit of literature. The volumeInthe Far East. A Diplomat’s Impressions, published in 2002 in the collection Oi Topoi (Places) of the Athens-based Periplous Publishing House, contains notes from the Asian states where he served (Thailand) or travelled (Indonesia, China, Myanmar). Excerpts from his literary works have already been published in the cultural press of Romania.


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