Kallia Papadaki One of 12 Winners of the EU Prize For Literature 2017

Dendrites – Kallia PapadakiThe EU Prize For Literature recognizes the talents of up-and-coming authors across Europe. The 12 winners, nominated by national juries from one-third of the members of Creative Europe, which is a program for the support of European culture and which has a budget of €1.46 billion, will each receive a prize of €5,000 euros.

Papadaki's novel, Dendrites (Οι Δενδρίτες), deals with immigrants living in impoverished Camden, New Jersey. It is a rather bleak novel of loss, of divorce, and of failure. Not all immigrants to America make it big, the novel seems to say. Which of course is true. But the real measure of success of immigrants to America is the answer to the following question: are they better off than they would have been had they never left their native land? The answer to that question for the majority of immigrants to the US is a resounding "Yes." Papadaki acknowledges that the American Dream is alive and well for people throughout the world desiring a better life.

Papadaki has a beautiful, fluid, well thought-out writing style with crisp, poetic imagery. Like most novels of modern Europe, however, there is precious little in it that lifts up the human spirit. But that's just the state of European literature in the 21st century.