THE SMILING KOUROS by Mikhail Soloviev


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A mystical love story, set in Greece, is told by an unnamed man to a stranger who concludes it after his death. The narrator has always been unsuccessful, alone. But returning from America, at the time of his father's death, he is given a map which leads him to an antique statue of the Kouros. In a ""hallucination"", the Kouros tells him that there is a predestined woman for every man and presently he meets Penelope, the 16 year old daughter of a well-to-do doctor. She falls violently in love with him. Her love is childish, comic, full of exaggerations, but increasingly real and soon he is overpowered and agrees to marry her. But as the wedding approaches, he fears she is in love with a younger friend, and the Kouros reveals that there is someone else for him. He does not, however, accept his obvious real choice, Penelope's older sister, Anna, and driving to his wedding with Anna, both are killed... This is an often vivid, sparingly handled story of a compulsive love. The Kouros is rather too simplified a symbol and substitute for the psychological complexities involved and by removing the responsibility, diminishes the sense of human tragedy. While readable, it seems remote.

Pub Date: July 16th, 1962
Publisher: McKay