A bold allegory of a contemporary nativity… The mountainous Cypriot village of Spilia, the Greek word for “cave”, provides the setting for the conception and “birth” of a bodiless, unseen Christ spreading as miraculous energy to liberate, heal and transform anyone it touches.
Set in the middle of the twentieth century in a mountainous Cypriot village, Census follows the pregnancy of cancer patient Maria. She conceives after a night with the angelically handsome Michael, visiting from Patmos, the island of John’s Revelation. The gestation culminates in the “nativity” of an invisible Christ in a Nicosia clinic.
Though incorporeal, scentless and colourless, the life-giving force that is liberated from Maria’s womb, brings about premature efflorescence and a diffusion of aromas across the clinic’s flower pots. Akin to healing energy, it begins curing the spiritual and psychosomatic ailments of all those it overshadows, urging the island’s medical community to dedicate their life to studying and utilising this unknown new energy.
Census is both a heretic allegory of the nativity and a cathartic retort to the satanic messages of Roman Polanski’s renowned horror film Rosemary’s Baby. Boasting repeated editions in Greece and Cyprus, this award-winning novel by Panos Ioannides, replete with magical realism, is riveting in terms of conception and execution: a sacred metaphysical thriller that redeems and purifies the reader. A masterpiece in the art of fiction and the recipient of the CyprusNational Prize forLiterature, 1973.
A novel of rare literary and philosophical aesthetic | Alithia Daily
His voice is graced with solid psychological poise and unique sharpness of the spirit equivalent to a surgical scalpel | Phileleftheros Daily
A strongly enigmatic and symbolic novel | Athens Review of Books
An excellent artisan of composite plot | Phileleftheros Daily
An innovative novel that significantly predates Umberto Eco’s or Dan Brown’s composite or “bestselling” achievements | Nea Epochi Magazine
Concise, elliptical sentences, the seemingly simplified wording (from a master) are put aside to make room for a language that endeavours to serve as a figure of extra-logical and extra-worldly transcendences. Eloquence, in the best possible meaning of the term, accompanies those passages of the book where cosmic drama cedes its place to metaphysical mystery | Andreas Christophides, Literary Critic