Giorgos Heimonas was born in Kavala in 1938 and died in Paris in 2000. He studied psychiatry at the University of Athens and the University of Paris, and he lived in both Athens and Paris; he has worked as a professor, physician, and author. His mysterious and moving narratives made him one of Greece’s most renowned contemporary writers.
To enter into a Heimonas text is not so much to read the written word as to experience it. His characters repeatedly suggest that the word of their experience flows through the body toward the lips but never reaches speech. Accordingly, Heimonas creates a metamorphosed language and a genre which are neither poetry nor fiction in a conventional sense yet share certain qualities of each. In The builders the protagonist is the herald of a new order of speech and feeling. The text suggests that we cease, as it were, to listen to experience with our neighbour’s ear; rather we should feel the world through a sort of language of the nerves. Thus, the narrative does not articulate an idea or situation so much as pulse with sensations of pain, joy, discovery. The feeling of existence becomes its meaning. In Heimonas’ words, the world becomes an image and humanity itself the message.