My rating: 3 stars
Unmistakably inspired by the nativity of Jesus, Census by the Cypriot writer Panos Ioannides features various elements from Christian mythology. As the story evolves, it gets progressively more metaphysical. The realistic fiction characteristics of the first part of the book are swapped for too many magical realism elements, and, in consequence, almost all of the characters stop feeling authentic. They start being portrayed as symbols of a theoretical message.
Joseph and Maria Akritas, the main characters in this story, were travelling by car to Spilia when they saw a young man carrying a backpack and a guitar. He was called Michael and was from Patmos. They decided to give him a lift, seeing that they were all heading to the same village. He was going to stay with two friends, the Archangielsks, who were doing some restoration work in a local chapel. Maria seemed to be entranced by him.
When Joseph and Maria arrived at the house they always stayed in while in the village to rest for a few days, their host, Avgi, wasn’t there. She left a note saying that she had to leave in a hurry and didn’t know how long she was going to be away for. The house was at their disposal, though. They were already acquainted with many of the inhabitants and received various visitors. But the most interesting facet of the book is to gradually uncover the reasons behind the tribulations of Maria’s and Joseph’s relationship. Continue reading