The Athenian Murders

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Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2002 - Fiction - 262 pages
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The English debut of one of Spain's most dazzling younger writers -- a postmodern murder mystery set in ancient Greece.
In this brilliant, highly entertaining, and intriguing novel, Jose Carlos Somoza intertwines two darkly compelling riddles, forcing us to confront the ways in which we interpret reality.
In ancient Athens, one of the pupils of Plato's Academy is found dead. His idealistic teacher Diagoras is convinced the pupil's death is not as accidental as it appears, and asks the famous Heracles Pontor, the "Decipherer of Enigmas," to investigate. As the death toll rises, the two men find themselves drawn into the dangerous underworld of the Athenian aristocracy, risking their own lives to solve the riddle of these young men's deaths. Simultaneously, a second plot unfolds: that of the modern-day translator of the ancient text, who, as he proceeds with his work, becomes convinced that the original author has hidden a second meaning in the text, one that can be interpreted through certain repeated words and images. As the story advances, however, the translator is alarmed to discover references to himself, which seem to address him personally in an increasingly menacing fashion.
An original and unsettling literary mystery, "The Athenian Murders" introduces a beguiling new talent to an American readership.

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The Athenian murders

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In his U.S. debut, ambitious Spanish novelist Somoza parallels a murder at Plato's Academy and the predicament of a contemporary translator, who finds that a text about the murder speaks to him in a direct and frightening way. ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

JosE Carlos Somoza was born in Havana; his family moved to Spain when he was one, and he remains there today. A psychiatrist by training, he has won several awards for his novels, which have been published in thirty countries.

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