The Parthenon Bomber
Christos Chrissopoulos’s The Parthenon Bomber poses what would happen if Greece’s greatest symbol were destroyed, not by one of the countless immigrants flooding the county’s borders but by one of it’s own natives. This thin but deeply charged novella, at times, reads more like a play or screenplay than a work of fiction, as the author often inserts italicized stage directions into the character’s monologues.
It’s no secret that Greece has lost its stance in the world since the days of Achilles or since the Parthenon finished construction in 432 BC. Ch.K., the titular character, knows this, and it’s his fellow Greeks’ apathy on the matter that draws him to commit this monumental act of terrorism. He sees the former temple as responsible for his country’s lagging behind the rest of the European Union as well as its inability or unwillingness to embrace modernity.
So, following in the path of Herostratus, whose story Jean-Paul Sartre recreated with “Erostratus,” Ch.K. brings down those iconic pillars dedicated to the goddess Athena. But his efforts only result in the construction of a “New Parthenon,” showing that the birthplace of Western civilization cannot let go of its past as it continues to limp into the future.