Author: Theodor Kallifatides
ISBN: 978-1590519462

After a forty-year writing career, Theodor Kallifatides finds himself drained of literary inspiration and in search of Another Life…or at least an understanding of what age has done to his present one. Though his fictional well may have run dry as he claims, his active mind takes us through a thought-provoking reminiscence of his life experiences, political philosophy, and resolution of two unique languages and cultures.

I found Theodor’s reflections doubly interesting since we are both authors, born within a month of each other, with wives five years younger, both left our native country in our twenties and lived ever since in a second nation feeling an increasing homesickness for the first. Consequently, the book turned me into a student eager to soak up the sage advice he offers.

Theodor’s insights into dealing with imminent end of a career are as applicable to a techie’s explosive career finish at thirty or the more common middle-age retirement as they are to him in his late seventies. The march of time and events ensures that we all must eventually face this crisis. His struggle with it provides valuable food for thought.

His concern that much of the world is sliding from democracy toward authoritarianism is well-founded as is his perception that democracy can breed its own demise. We were taught in grade school that freedoms come with responsibilities as Theodor points out. He cites as an example that freedom of speech should partner with the responsibility to not use it to harm others through derision, smears or false accusations. When anyone can say anything about anyone, democracy is threatened. He indicates Sweden has suffered from this effect and certainly America is reeling from it today.

After forty years of writing and thinking in Swedish, Theodor’s thoughts turn back to his native Greek roots. A return to Greece to acknowledge an honor bestowed upon him, first shows him how it has changed for the worse and ultimately how the culture of his childhood remains when one gets away from the tourism. More important, it impresses upon him the unreconcilable differences in language and culture between Greece and Sweden. Out of that comes Another Life, the first book he has written in Greek. A stream of interesting events and characters make the read as entertaining as it is informative. Theodor’s well has not run dry after all.