, Tess Fragoulis's first novel, is a lush, extravagant, and squalid tale of love, drugs, myths, sex, and death in Athens and the Greek Islands. Ariadne is a young Montreal Greek who, bored with her Canadian life, travels to Athens in search of change. After months of isolation, she finds it in the form of Yannis Vissinos, a musician and junkie who quickly dominates her heart, bank account, and life. Heroin quickly tears Ariadne and Yannis apart, and Ariadne flees to work as a waitress in a seedy jazz bar on Nysas, a hedonistic cesspool beloved of libidinous tourists. Installed in a life of numbing servitude, she pines for Yannis, who is tied to her by an affair that can't just end.
Fragoulis's combination of mythology and dark, comic romance sometimes feels a bit too familiar; the myth-laden meeting of a promiscuous Canadian woman abroad and a drug-addled musician was recently used a bit more effectively in fellow Montrealer Will Aitken's Realia. Unlike Aitken, Fragoulis doesn't quite manage to harmonize her tragicomic impulses. The antics of lovelorn Ariadne and brutal Yannis are very entertaining, but the narrator's insistence on tragedy and pathos is never believable. Ariadne's Dream is a fun, intelligent, sexy novel, but it fails to realize its own ambitions. --Harvey Cornell
About the Author
Tess Fragoulis was born in Herkalion, Crete, and grew up in Montreal where she currently lives and writes. She has written for television and newspapers, and has published widely in literary journals.