Four Walls
Vangelis Hatziyannidis

Translated from the Greek by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife

'The moment he closed his lips round the laden spoon, the honey exploded inside his mouth; he felt like he was under attack from some overwhelming force, striking him like a thunderbolt and leaving him dazed inside a cloud of mist. From within this mist, erupted a mischievous little cherub, which started fluttering around the ceiling, from corner to corner, while the opening bars of a triumphant march were heard in the distance. It did not take long for the aroma from the opened jar to pervade the entire room, like gas suddenly escaping from a cylinder. Its presence was so manifest that Rodakis thought that it was actually visible, that it was the mist cloud enshrouding him...'


In Four Walls Hatziyannidis explores ideas of imprisonment and human limitation. The main characters are tied to the same four walls, and their attempts to go beyond the boundaries they have set for themselves end in disaster.

Following the death of his beekeeper father, Rodakis lives a solitary life in the old family house on a Greek island. One day he is asked by the village elders to take in a young fugitive woman and her daughter. He reluctantly agrees, and she soon persuades him to return to the family business of making honey.

Thanks to his father’s secret recipe, they are able to produce delicious honey that becomes highly sought after, and they run a successful business for a while. P Rodakis is a father figure to the woman’s daughter Rosa, who comes to depend on him when her mother meets with a fatal accident.

Everyone wants to get their hands on the secret honey recipe. P Rodakis is captured and imprisoned by a jealous monk who wants the power of the honey for himself.

Alone on the island, Rosa goes in search of her real father but when it becomes clear that she is ignorant of the acceptable boundaries of sexual relationships he decides she must be kept locked in her room. P Rodakis must use his precious secret recipe to bargain for Rosa’s release.

'Vangelis Hatziyannidis' first novel delightfully blends the serious...themes of imprisonment and solitude with humour, humility, horribly violent deaths, coincidences and miracles – all of which add up to a witty fable, satisfyingly replete with the essential ingredients of magical realism.' The Guardian

To read an extract of this title click here

Vangelis Hatziyannidis was born in 1967 in Serres and lives in Athens. He studied law at Athens University and drama at the Veakis school. He worked as an actor for three years before taking up writing. His first novel, Four Walls won Greek literary magazine Diavazo’s prize for the best new writer in 2001 and has been translated into French, Italian and Spanish. The French edition of The Four Walls won the Laure Bataillon Prize for the best foreign book and best translation of the year.

Original Paperback
ISBN: 0-7145-3122-7
October 2006