Maria Georgala - SKY OF CLAY EARTH OF CLOUDS

    Background is the Greek town of Thessaloniki.  Alexandros, at 35, half human – half elf, tells the story of his life as he seeks his real nature in both worlds.  
    Three elves bless him while still in his cradle.  They wish him “not to be a boy or a girl; not to feel at home but in the elf world; and not to die, but to ascend to heaven.”  His ethereal, elfish nature takes him onto “dreamy travels,” while his human nature needs to explore the world and the feelings that flood him.     
    Alexandros’s narrative unfolds the story of his oppressive mother who, panicked by his imaginative nature, committed him to a mental hospital during his early adolescence; of his unfulfilled love for his college classmate, the lonely and inaccessible Eleni, and his brave and desperate struggle to earn her love; of his moving relationship with Handra, a Lebanese woman; of Karl, a German man, and their common love for “Demian” and Herman Hesse; of his effort to “enter” the world of Humans by briefly joining the leftist movement; of his relationship with Alkis, a friend from adolescence who, drawn by Alexandros’s “dreamy travels” enters the world of drugs and dies; of old man Spyros, a philosopher from Asia Minor; of his affectionate relationship with the spirit of Cervantes, a substitute for the father that he never had; of tender loving Daphne and his meeting with Zoe, Eleni’s sister, an enlightened New Yorker and the only person who “understands” him.  
    Eleni and Daphne die in a car accident and Alexandros takes care of Daphne’s newborn baby.  When Zoe adopts the baby and he has to give it up he feels bereft.  To console him, during a splendid celebration, the elves present him with the medal of the Golden Ambassadorial Wing and commission him to write a book about his life that would bring the people of the “dry era” back into the world of imagination, innocence and fairy tales.  
    In agony because of the clash of the two worlds inside him, as well as the successive tragedies in his life, Alexandros reaches out to the elves for answers through his “dreamy travels.”  With their vague, suggestive, and often mocking responses, the elves lighten the heaviness of his soul.  Alexandros finishes the book but in the meantime becomes seriously ill because “a crab has entered his body.”  The end approaches.  In yet another splendid ceremony, the elves prepare Alexandros’s ascent to Heaven from Mount Saos in Samothraki, but at the last moment he hears reverberate inside him the echo of the words of Zoe and Cervantes, “Life is the prize for courage and freedom.  Life is love.  Go live it,” and also Karl’s words paraphrasing “Demian”, “to be born, a bird destroys a world.”  Alexandros stops the procession and announces that he is not ready to ascend to Heaven before having lived a life as a Man in full.
    He bids farewell to the elves and continues his narrative as he departs:  “…Looking down the wooded slopes of Mount Saos, the nightingales filling the air with their trills and the insects with their flutter, looking further away at the sea with its fresh scented waves, down at the world of joy, pain and suffering, I started toward the Land of the Fallen, the Land of the Ousted, the Promised Land, the Land of the Humans.”  

Rights: 
Available