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If I Had the Wings launch and celebration

Laurel Book Store
1423 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Message from Host

Greetings Beloved Community,

Please join me in celebration of the launch of my debut collection of short stories - If I Had the Wings. I will be joined by my friend, poet and performer Amir Rabiyah. A book signing and refreshments will follow the reading. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Helen Klonaris

About If I Had the Wings...

If I Had the Wings reveals the constraints and dangers of growing up gay in a small Greek-Bahamian community that feels its traditional culture and religious pieties are under threat. The main characters in Helen Klonaris’s lyrical, inventive, and at times transgressive collection of short stories confront this reality as part of their lives. Yet there are also ways in which young women in several of the stories search for roots in that tradition – to find within it alternatives to the dominant influence of the Orthodox Church. 

Klonaris focuses closely on family relationships, in particular the compexities of father/daughter relationships – ranging from over-bearing authority, absence and incest. Klonaris’s characters are very much part of the wider realities in Bahamian society, including the presence of unregistered immigrants from Haiti, and the interplay between fear, repression, hypocrisy and resistance in the relations between the state, the churches and the LGBT community.

Running through the stories is an intensive focus on the body. In “Flies” bodily dissolution becomes a powerful metaphor for Marjorie St George’s elite White fear that her world is disappearing with the islands’ independence, whilst in “Weeds” two young women use their bodies, quite literally, and wittily, to fight back against the thou-shall-nots of the church.

"Brave, haunting stories that reveal all the frailties and complexities of what it means to be human, and how we tend to condemn what we don’t understand — what we have forgotten about ourselves or fear to embrace...The stories reel you in and let you out — space to breathe.” 
— Opal Palmer Adisa, author of Painting Away Regrets 


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