“I will gather up a lifetime of things unsaid, write them down, and then offer them all to be lit up for security and burned. All at once.
And then I can watch the whole thing turn to ash. The whole damn thing.
Light the match, and watch it burn.
What a loaded bonfire that would be though, if this gets burned when I finish filling up the whole book.
What a cleansing experience that will be!
If flames could speak, what a story they would tell.
They say that the original bonfires were the burning up of bones. Bad bones. Bad people. Enemies. Turning bones to ash. And it was the burning up of curses and all things bad as well. God knows we have had and still have enemies, and even curses. Real ones.”
–Mallias The Greek Gangster the story of a card cheat
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Based on a true story.
Markella’s burning desire is to share what she knows with the world. But she can’t.
A situation develops and push comes to shove. She decides to write it all out, bringing to life a chatty journal filled with information about her husband, Nick, alias Mallias, a renowned card cheat, a mobster.
They make quite the couple. Some love them, some hate them, while so many love to hate them.
Markella takes time to get her thoughts together, expressing half of what she is thinking always. She writes in her slow burn style, sometimes staccato and sometimes rambling, sometimes brash and often politically incorrect, filling the pages of her journal with their story, one drenched with crime, mystery, eccentricity, double-crossers, dripping with the unique flavors of Greece, New York, and Osaka and soaked through and through with gossip, romance and a touch of the metaphysical.
Writing the book Mallias, the Greek Gangster was an amazing experience. First of all, it was written in the form of a journal. A chaotic one. Certainly not a ‘traditional’ journal. It reads like at times like a tabloid, sometimes like a critique and many times like an analysis of life.
Markella and Mallias, two characters dear to my heart are the leading characters in this novel. Markella writes the journal. She writes it as a form of therapy. Markella needs to remedy the anxiety that has built up inside of her regarding situations that had developed in their life and that were affecting them. She fluctuates between superficial and sublime.
Mallias, her husband, is a card cheat and a mobster. He is the center of her world. She feels the need to gush and flood the world with her feelings. But she can’t. So she begins this journal, lingering and stalling and trying to convince herself that it is ok to write.
Markella is a character that sometimes says things which are too blunt, perhaps inappropriate at times. Her point of view on some things is refreshingly coarse and no frills, in a very honest and upfront way.
Her husband, on the other hand, is elusive even after having his most confidential details revealed. There is much more to him than meets the eye. Both characters have an eccentricity about them. He has an unusual way of handling things and a very unusual background.
This book is the beginning of a style that I want to explore. I call books like these Fusion.
There are some metaphysical elements fused in a journal penned by a woman, steeped in stereotype while narrating crime, action, and suspense. Elements that are unlikely to be found together are the knotty fiber of this book. A chatty mobster’s wife is an unlikely narrator of the confidential mob business, and a few details of magical realism become part of the literary landscape. Fusing the unlikely make it a more challenging journal to write.
This is based on a true story, so it made it all the more interesting to put together and present it in journal form.