Stories Told to a Bird Woman

Sylvia Ioannides


Toss a Mediterranean motif of pagan magic alongside a Laurentian concern with the many viscissitudes of love and you have a good idea what this collection is all about.

While her images and plots are fantastical, Ioannides’ prose is simple, in the most elegant sense of an oral storyteller’s bare-bones approach to simplicity. Her characters typically field themselves into the romantic and the anti-romantic camps. While the latter find themselves ruled by state or religious commandments to the point of sad strictures, even anality (a post Freudian coinage), the former find themselves misunderstood and—not shamed, for they all proceed with an inner surety— but isolated or even persecuted. If anything, Ioannides seems to be saying, we join hands in refusing to join hands, in refusing to dive into Laurentian love. Thus the irony of the entire collection.

ISBN, trade paper: 978-1-931982-09-2, $14.95       Sale $7.50

ISBN, library edition: 978-1-931982-08-5, $26.00    Sale $13.00

About the Author: 

Sylvia Ioannides was born on the island of Cyprus. This is her first novel. She has several more. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American history, plus a bachelor’s degree in Education.

 Excerpt From the Book:

     There is a strange wind following me, like a maddening death lingering at my heels; it seems that wherever I might tread in the sensual heat of Algiers, I am met by the crowds of the busy harbor and the distant open sky where clouds move like lofty ships over the wild exuberant sea, whose circular body lifts in erotic ecstasy to meet the gleam of a triumphant sun.
            Today, the market is full of children, their cinnamon-colored skin brushing up against my own as they scramble past me, their hands full of thick-scented, wilting flowers.
            “Jasmine, monsieur?” someone asks me faintly. I look down into the face of a young girl, her eyes staring up at me with a familiar shrewdness. I give her a coin and take the gift from her, crushing its silky petals in my hand. She is gone in an instant and I am left with nothing but her hesitant scent loitering beneath my flaring nostrils.
            It is like this in the Mediterranean; a world that sinks its teeth into your flesh until there is nothing left; not even a white bone to be buried beneath the tumultuous earth.
                You feel yourself lifted by a defying wind, carrying the ruthless scent of intoxicating hunger and you are in love with every woman who gives you a sinewy gaze over the mantle of desire. You want to leave desperately, to engage in a new experience but you are forced back to shore by a jealous sea, by the hungry land searching to quench its thirst with your soul.