The Agony of Survival: A novelThe Agony of Survival: A novel by Dr. Spyros Vrettos

Translated from the Greek by Harikleia Georgiou Sirmans
Edited by Dr. Constantine Santas
Cover art by Frana
INBN: 978-0-7414-6909-0
Infinity Publishing December 2011
USD $13.95; 185 pages; 21 x 14 cm

It was August 1996 in Athens, Greece when Dr. Constantine Santas proposed that I  translate his friend’s, Dr. Spyros Vrettos, Greek novel into English. It was a great opportunity for me to practice my new degree in English, and to gain experience in translation, so I accepted.

Translating The Agony of Survival was like writing a new book, while maintaining—as much as possible–the author’s style, language, and narrative tone as well as keeping in mind the American audience, their culture and language idioms. It was an arduous task that involved research in dictionaries, thesauri, and other reference books in both English and Greek. When I started the translation, I had to hand write it because, at the time, I did not own a computer or was close to one. Dr. Santas’s secretary typed the whole manuscript.

It took two years to translate the 1st edition of the book at my leisure. In 2007, Dr. Vrettos wrote a 2nd edition and I had to include any changes to the translation of the 1st edition before I prepared the typescript for the publisher.

The prose of the book is realistic, but also artistic and poetic. It raises several questions about the fate of modern humans. We are at the edge of self-destruction because of the development of technology. We live in a poisonous environment that causes lethal illnesses like cancer; we suffer massive devastations like floods or hurricanes; we are attacked by terrorists; we are vulnerable to death and we try, by any means, to avoid it. Despite the environmental changes that threaten our survival and deteriorate our health, we were gifted with the intelligence to manipulate nature to survive and to “cheat” on death. Scientists constantly search for ways to improve and lengthen our lives. The optimism of the book is that when facing a survival threat, we have the ability and the means to avoid it or fight it. We can live a happy and secure life if we embrace nature and protect it.

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Read my review.

Sample the first chapter.

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