Let Me Explain You

A Novel

Let Me Explain You

An unforgettable novel about a Greek American family and its enigmatic patriarch from a significant new voice in contemporary literature: “Hilarious yet rich…This debut by Annie Liontas will touch you” (The New York Times).

Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, Greek immigrant and proud owner of the Gala Diner, believes he has just ten days to live. As he prepares for his final hours, he sends a scathing email to his ex-wife and three grown daughters, outlining his wishes for how they each might better live their lives. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, but when Stavros disappears, those closest to him are forced to confront the possibility of his death.

A vibrant tour de force that races to a surprising conclusion, Let Me Explain You is told from multiple perspectives: Stavros Stavros, brimming with pride and cursing in broken English; his eldest daughter Stavroula, a talented chef in love with her boss’s daughter; her sister, the wounded but resilient Litza; and many other voices who compose a veritable Greek chorus.

Funny yet deeply moving, this “pitch perfect” (San Francisco Chronicle) novel delivers a thoughtful meditation on the power of storytelling. In Let Me Explain You, Annie Liontas explores our origins and family myths, the relationship between fathers and daughters, the complex bond of sisterhood, hunger and what feeds us, but “the novel’s true heart is one filled with love and forgiveness” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
  • Scribner | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476789095 | 
  • June 2016
List Price $23.00 (price may vary by retailer)


To download a file to your computer right-click on the link and choose 'save file as'

High Resolution Images

Any use of an author photo must include its respective photo credit

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Let Me Explain You includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



Haunted by a dream and a goat, Greek immigrant and diner owner Stavros Stavros Mavrakis composes an email to his three daughters and ex-wife predicting his death in ten days’ time. But the advice he freely hands out proves little more than laughable to his children, who are busy building their own adult lives: Stavroula, a talented restaurateur, pines for her boss’s daughter; Litza, wounded but strong, is trying to find her own way through the world; Ruby has eloped. Meanwhile, Stavros’s increasingly frantic attempts to arrange his affairs bring up difficult questions for his daughters not only about their relationships with their father, but about the bonds they share with each other. As an idle threat transforms over ten days into a very real crisis, the Mavrakis family must learn how to grow and how to forgive.


Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. The title of the novel takes its name from Stavros’s opening admonishment of his family, see more

About the Author

Annie Liontas
Photograph by Sara Nordstrom

Annie Liontas

A graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program, Annie Liontas writes fiction and poetry. Since 2003, Annie has been dedicated to urban education, working with teachers and youth in Philadelphia, and Newark, NJ. Let Me Explain You is her first novel. She lives with her wife in Philadelphia.