God Is My Witness

Review by The National Herald


Antiheroes are the cornerstone of world literature. From the many antiheroes of ancient Greek drama to Lucifer in Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667), Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866), and Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), there are many examples throughout the ages and from various countries worldwide.

God Is My Witness (Martys Mou O Theos) by Makis Tsitas also features the antihero in a powerful novel which won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2014, and is now available in English from Aiora Press. The translation by Joshua Barley offers English readers the opportunity to experience the world of its protagonist and antihero, the 50-year-old Chrysovalantis.

On the eve of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Chrysovalantis—a chronically unsuccessful but enthusiastic employee of the publishing industry—has lost his job, yet again. He begins a vitriolic monologue, taking aim at his many persecutors, from cruel bosses to opportunistic women to embarrassing, crippling illnesses. An aging relic of a bygone era, hounded by the challenges of a fast-changing city, he nonetheless sees the irony of his plight. Vice-ridden yet God-fearing, family-loving yet swindled even by his own sisters, this repentant antihero will set his record straight once and for all. And God is his witness.

God Is My Witness is the first novel by a contemporary author included in the prestigious series Modern Greek Classics from Aiora Press. The series, highly regarded by readers and critics alike, features modern classics by distinguished Greek authors including: Cavafy, Papadiamantis, Vizyinos, Seferis, Elytis, Ritsos, Theotokis, Venezis, and Laskaratos, among others.

Reviews for God Is My Witness have been very positive. Nikos Vatopoulos of Kathimerini newspaper said, “I felt that I had read a great book and an even greater novel, which I believe will become a classic.”
People magazine’s Tina Mandilara said, “This is one of the best Greek novels, starring a typical antihero of our age, living in an alienated world.”
Dimitris Fyssas of 9,84.gr said, “This is a masterpiece in terms of style, whose hero is impossible to forget.”
Byron Kritzas of popaganda.gr said, “The most masterfully written and funny Greek novel of the last few years.”

About the author:

Makis Tsitas was born in Giannitsa in 1971. He majored in journalism and worked for several radio stations in Thessaloniki. Since 1994, Tsitas has lived in Athens where he works in publishing. From 2012 to the present he has been directing Diastixo.gr, a website on books and culture.

Tsitas is a member of the Hellenic Authors’ Society and his literary works have been included in anthologies, published in magazines and newspapers, and translated into German, French, Spanish, English, Hebrew, Albanian, Bulgarian, Polish, Swedish, Finnish, and Italian.
Some of his works have also been staged and directed by Roula Pateraki, Ersi Vasilikioti, Sophia Karagianni, Taru Makela, Alexandru Mazgareanu. His lyrics have been set to music by Giorgos Stavrianos, Takis Soukas, and Tatiana Zografou.
Tsitas has published 22 books for children and three for adults.
His novel God Is My Witness, earned him the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature and honors by the Municipalities of Athens, Pella, and Edessa, the Central Public Library of Edessa, as well as the Region of Central Macedonia.
God Is My Witness is available in 11 European languages.
More information on the author and his work is available online: https://makistsitas.com/en/.
God Is My Witness (Martys Mou O Theos) by Makis Tsitas is also available online in the original Greek.