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Writer murdered in his home

07 December 2014 / 19:12:12  GRReporter
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The acclaimed writer Menis Koumandareas was found murdered in his home on Zakynthos St. in Kypseli, with visible face wounds.

Koumandareas, who was 83, had bruises on his neck and face according to initial forensic examination. The exact cause of his death has yet to be determined, but murder is not excluded as an option.

According to reports, the writer's front door did not bear any signs of a break-in, but his flat had been rummaged by someone. The reason for his death will become clear on Monday after the autopsy. Reportedly Koumandareas wasn't hit by a weapon or a sharp object.

Menis Koumandareas was born in Athens into the family of Andonis Koumandareas, banker and financier. In 1948 he spent six months in London, where he lived with his father's brother and came into contact with local cultural life. The following year he finished secondary school in Athens, then studied law at Athens University.

Koumandareas served his conscription with the Greek Navy. Thereafter, he worked as a clerk in seafaring and insurance companies for 20 years. In 1972, he spent six months in Berlin on a scholarship.

He made his first steps in literature in 1962, publishing a collection of short stories entitled ''Slot machines''. His works were published in many literary magazines like Eklogi, Epitheorisi Teknis, Tam, Iridanos, Tachidromos and others. During the junta years, Koumandareas participated in the dissident publication named 18 texts. He was on trial four times for his writings.

Koumandareas was among the founders of the Greek Authors' Society. From 1982 to 1986 he was member of the Board of Directors for the Greek National Opera. His works were translated into English, French and German. Koumandareas belongs to the so-called second post-war generation in Greek prose. His works blended social realism, depicting the alienating pull of modern society, and the poetic longing for the lost innocence of the younger generation. Koumandareas has been awarded the State Prize for Short Story (twice, 1967 and 1997) and for Novel (twice, 1975 and 2002).

Evangelos Venizelos: sadness and disgust

Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos said he was profoundly saddened and disgusted by the murder of Koumandareas, a spiritual figure who left his clear-cut footprint on Greek literature.

"As a member of what was called ‘the second post-war generation’ of Greek prose writers, with multiple awards and translations, he was special. His perspective, both realistic and poetic, gave us excellent writings, which enjoyed a warm reception from both the public and the critics. A great writer and a modest human being who worked inconspicuously and tirelessly; he was living at the heart of his favourite city and never left it," Venizelos said in his statement.

A statement by the Minister of Culture

Konstantinos Tasoulas, Minister of Culture and Sports, said:

"The tragic death of Menis Koumandareas has robbed Greek literature of one of its best prose writers, and the country – of one of its active citizens. Koumandareas spent more than half a century, from the 1962 Pin-ball Machines to the recently published Time’s Treasure, following the inner impulses and expectations of modern man and Greek society at large with an unprecedented sensitivity and clarity, as well as with his charming personal style. I pass on my deepest condolences to his family."

To Potami

"Time’s Treasure, Menis Koumandareas’ last book, arrive in the bookshops only a month ago. But this is not the only treasure he gave us. We already had Pin-ball Machines, Glass Factory, Koula, Vest No 9, Their Smell Makes me Cry, Days Good for Writing and Nights Suit the Body, Death in Valparaiso, etc.

We were living with his treasures, having grown up with these books. Even today, ‘their smell makes us cry’", reads the To Potami party statement.

In its statement, the Greek Authors' Society says:

"With great sadness we have learned about the sudden death of Menis Koumandareas, a founder of our society and an outstanding prose writer. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family."

Tags: Menis Koumandareas writer murder
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