“Writers like Papanikolas should live a thousand years.”
Journal of the International Greek Folklore Society
The title of Helen Papanikolas’ second collection of short stories, The Apple Falls from the Apple Tree, is taken from an old Greek proverb and speaks of the new generation’s struggle with the vestiges of Greek customs. Gone are the raw, overt emotions of the pioneers, their bold prejudices, and, especially, the haunting black fatalism of funerals. Yet their children retain much of their parents’ culture. Although they live far from the old Greek towns, we see their rivalries, envy of the successful, and hubris as they respond to their experiences of intermarriage, old age, and loss. The exoticism and color of immigrant life wanes as each generation that follows those first patriarchs and matriarchs becomes “more like the Americans.” These are stories of the long passage of immigration—from accommodation, to the straddling of two cultures, and ending with assimilation. They are stories of a particular people, but they could be about any people.
Helen Papanikolas was the author of several books of fiction and non-fiction, most recently the novel The Time of the Little Black Bird, winner of the Utah Book Award for Fiction.
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