What's Left of the Night

Original title: Ti Meni Apo ti Nichta

Publication Date:

November 2015



Original language and publisher

Greek | Patakis


Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

What's Left of the Night

Original title: Ti Meni Apo ti Nichta

  • 2 Seas Represents: Dutch rights.
  • Rights sold: New Vessel Press (USA – WEL), Stock Editions (France), Sexto Piso (Spain – World Spanish), A’afaq A’alameya (Egypt), Nottetempo (Italy), Altera (Bulgary).
  • English translation available.
  • Prix Méditerranée Étranger 2017. Présélection Prix du livre Européen 2017


“Striking … Sotiropoulos’s novel is both a loving tribute to a seminal Greek poet and a contemplative, fascinating reflection on the drive to create art.” — Publishers Weekly

“Sotiropoulos has done an incredible of painting a naturalistic scene of Paris as it was during the Dreyfus affair while giving a glimpse into what it was like to be a poet at that time. Cavafy’s original approach to poetry is what set him apart from his contemporaries. Readers may well leave this novel with a sincere desire to pick up a book of his poetry. A beautiful portrait of an aspiring poet.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Equal parts a character study and a treatise on the creative mind, the novel boldly provokes questions about the relationship between an artist’s life and his art, specifically the quality of art that is born out of immense suffering. Rather than succumbing to shame, whether self-inflicted or socially imposed, the novel suggests that the cure for such darkness lies in transmuting misery into works of beauty … Haunting and enthralling.” — Foreword Reviews

“A colorful fabric of Cavafy’s memories and reflections.” —Booklist

“It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s so beautifully lyrical that you feel like you’re reading aloud to yourself even when you’re reading quietly in a crowded bar. 10/10 would recommend. 10/10 will reread. 10/10 is rare for me this book was just truly awesome”. — Irvington

“Sotiropoulos’s latest novel is a pure diamond of language, style ,research, love, and inner struggle. Along with her novel, The Farce, it is her magnum opus. This fictional imagining of a few days in the life of a great figure in Greek and world literature is a breathless dive, eyes closed, into Cavafy’s transition from a young aspiring writer to an important poet; burning passion becoming burning art. It is a brilliant moment for Ersi Sotiropoulos.” — Dimitri Athinakis, Kathimerini

“The novel hits its target. Cavafy finally became a great poet, surpassing the social rigidity of his time and the bonds that held him in the world of yesterday.” — Giorgos Perantonakis, I Efimerida ton Syntakton

“Splendid … limpid and passionate … fluid and musical, Ersi Sotiropoulos’ prose says it perfectly … You can read this beautiful book by Ersi Sotiropoulos as an account of three key days in the life of Constantine Cavafy. You can read it as a passionate introduction to his work … but you can also see it on a more metaphorical level. That of a reflection about art. How is it born? Where does it come from?” — Le Monde

“Ersi Sotiropoulos fathoms with acuity the birth of her hero’s unique voice … In language marked by chiaroscuro, sobs and sublime anger, she suggests that the gloomy darkness of real life is often the breeding ground of a great oeuvre.” — Le Magazine littéraire

“Sensual, carnal and profound, this novel manages to render through its own rhythm the scansion of Greek verse, thereby transporting us along on the wanderings of one of the greatest poets in the history of world literature. Not to be missed.” — Les Chroniques culturelles

“In a imaginatively and hallucinatory way, Ce qui reste de la nuit inquires about the poetic creation. Cavafy is not so young, but this is a novel of initiation – initiation in a sacred and mystical sense: Cavafy will have to learn how to compose with his baudleriana melancholy, his desire of ideals but also his carnals and literaries desires, his feeling of being an albatros exiled on the earth, he who was a Greek Alexandrian exiled from Constantinople. Finally, he will have to learn to accept to desire men, their bodies, their skin … Sensual, carnal and deep, this novel manages at times to make its rhythm by the scansion of Greek verse, to better lead us into the wanderings of one of the greatest poets in the history of world literature! Not to be missed!” — Cultur’elle, Caroline Doudet

“Ersi Sotiropoulos loves those who are looking on the obscure side of their lives, like Eva, the heroine of her previous novel. This time she scans a man in trouble who trusts on the agony and passion of the creation.” — Livres Hebdo

“The Greek writer Ersi Sotiropoulos recreates in the novel In Que queda de la noche an unknown episode in the life of the poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933), “a moment of which there are no testimonies” so she has had to invent asking herself questions to reconstruct it.” — El Pais

“Drowned by the tyranny of an overprotective mother and the narrowness of a provincial Alexandria, a young Cavafy struggles to shape the poetic world that bustles inside. In Que queda de la noche Ersi Sotiropoulos narrates the moment when Cavafy man gave way to the Cavafy poet.” — The Cultural

“In Que queda de la noche, a novel with which Sotiropoulos has won the Mediterranean Prize for Literature 2017, the author wonders how genius can coexist with the daily flow of everyday life and how to break with the rigidity of the established to reach the hard price of creative freedom.” — Diario 16

“In the novel by the Greek Ersi Sotiropoulos “Que queda de la noche” Cavafy becomes a character and with him also do his aestheticist look at literature or his doubts about the verses he’s going to imagine.”— La Razòn

“In most lives there are no crucial moments, only representative ones. What’s Left of the Night illuminates three days in 1897 when Constantine Cavafy began to glimpse what would be his destiny (his voice and his subject) as a major poet. Sotiropoulos notices every encounter and records every intuition with a lyrical, impressionistic style of her own. A perfect book.” — Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and Genet: A Biography

“This elegant translation by Karen Emmerich of a provocative account of C.P. Cavafy’s visit to Paris, based on published sources and archival work combined with novelist Ersi Sotiropoulos’s rich imagination, illuminates an artist in ways that will please both those already familiar with Cavafy and those discovering this great poet of the past century.” — Edmund Keeley, author of​ Cavafy’s Alexandria and translator, with Philip Sherrard, of C. P. Cavafy: Collected Poems

June 1897: the Greco-Turkish War has come to the end. Greece is defeated and humiliated; France is torn apart by Dreyfus Affair; the city of Alexandria has finally surrendered to the indolent rhythms of the East. All over Europe, there is a fin de siècle atmosphere. In such an historical context, the young Constantine Cavafy, with his older brother John, is in Paris as the last stop of a long journey through Europe. A pleasure trip that will change him deeply, contributing to the realization of his poetic inclinations.

Ersi Sotiropoulos follows the poet like a shadow. Using archive material, she analyses his passions and torments. Thanks to a rich bibliography, she is able to recreate the principal moments of Cavafy’s life. What’s Left of the Night is a novel about the complicated relationship between art and life and about the erotic desire that triggers creativity. It is a courageous reconstruction of the great poet’s personality.

Ersi Sotiropoulos, acclaimed Greek writer, is the author of novels, short stories, screenplays and poems. Her works have been translated into several languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish and Turkish) and presented in festivals worldwide. Her novel, Zig-Zag Through The Bitter Orange Trees, is the first novel to win both the National Award for Best Novel and the National Critics Award in 2000. Feel Blue, Dress in Red won the National Award for the Best Collection of Stories in 2012. The novel Eva, Athens Academy Award for Best Novel, was translated into French in 2015 (it is also being translated into Albanian and Turkish), and was shortlisted at the European Book Prize in 2015 and the Prix du literature du Monde 2015. What’s Left of the Night, Prix Méditerranée Étranger 2017 and shortlisted at Prix Femina 2016. Are you up to it? is her latest novel (Patakis, Greece, 2017).