My Greek Books
The December edition of My Greek Books is here! Greetings from my little corner of the world. Books provide me a much-needed escape from the realities of our time. I read on mostly own, but this past month we’ve started a family “book club” with our daughters. I hope that books bring you respite.
This month’s reads include a just-out English translation of a novel by an author I’ve read before, and two from my “To-Read” stack… one just two years old and the other now 80 years old.
And of course, my To-Read stack is ever-growing. 😉 How about you?
Keep reading to find out what’s new in My Greek Books.
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The Siege of Troy: A Novel by Theodor Kallifatides
Translated from Swedish by Marlaine Delargy
Other Press (September 10, 2019)
About the author
Born in Greece but living in Sweden for more than 50 years, Author Theodor Kallifatides has published novels, poetry collections, travel essays, and plays, plus has written film scripts and directed a film. He writes in Swedish. His works have been translated into 20 languages.
The award-winning author’s inspiration stems from his experiences in Greece as a Greek living abroad. In 2016 interview with Greek News Agenda, he said that his interest in writing and books began at a young age.
“My father, who was a teacher, had already taught me how to read and write. It was during the Occupation of Greece in WWII. The Germans executed a man in our village, and to set an example, we were all forced to observe the execution.”
About the book
This experience is central to The Siege of Troy. During WWII and the German occupation in Greece, a teenage boy and his friend witness the horrors of the war. Danger lingers in the village and their teacher leads the students to shelter in cave. To help them deal with the reality they’re living, each day she reads a passage from The Iliad. She brings the ancient story to life, focusing more on the mindsets of the warriors, their driving force. In this quest, she highlights the horrors and senselessness of war and its cost.
It’s been years since I read The Iliad, and I appreciated the retelling in a new voice. I hope this will intrigue readers who may not have read Homer’s epic to seek it, and others who read it decades ago, to revisit with fresh eyes and perspective. Theodor Kallifatides did a splendid job juxtaposing the past and present and drawing us into this world. In it, he shows us that, unfortunately, some things don’t change.
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Evora by Kostas Krommydas
Translated by Maria Christou
Independently published (October 22, 2020)
About the author
The most recent translated work by Kostas Krommydas does not disappoint. The Greek author of several novels (5 translated to English) is also an actor. You may have seen him as the police superintendent in The Durrells in Corfu. Like his other books, Evora is inspired by true events.
About the book
Driving through a snowstorm with limited visibility, Ariadne swerves off a narrow mountain road to avoid hitting a dog. Her vehicle stuck in the bushes; she rolls down the window to try to escape. Offsetting the fragile balance, it sends the car careening into the icy lake. The dog’s frantic barks alerted two couples who stayed in a nearby cabin. Antonis dives in and rescues her. Back at the cabin, she warms but the fire and he tends to her head wound. He saved her life, but there’s some other connection. However, Antonis is married, and his wife is present.
At Evora, her home/wellness retreat, she convalesces. She’s adopted the dog. Months later Antonis appears in her town. The physicist, a specialist in climate change, headed to Thessaloniki, he stops to check in on her. He’s newly divorced and exploring the area for a job relocation. They’re connection still strong, they’re drawn together. Ariadne hadn’t been in a relationship for a long time. They fall in love. An unfortunate accident on her birthday, brings tragedy. As another life hangs in the balance, family and love are tested.
Kostas Krommydas is an amazing storyteller. His stories grab your heart and don’t let go. This is another you won’t be able to put down. This story will transport you to an idyllic mountaintop in Northern Greece and challenge what you know about enduring love.
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Alexander the Great: a Novel by Nikos Kazantzakis
Translated by Theodora Vasils
Ohio University Press (January 15, 1982)
About the author
As a fan of Nikos Kazantzakis’ works, I’m always eager to dive into another. Someday I hope to read them in the original Greek. The translation of At the Palaces of Knossos by Themi and Theodora Vasils, is one of my favorites. I knew the sisters. Theodora died in 2017.
About the book
Recently, I stumbled upon Theodora’s translation of Alexander the Great: a Novel. The book, at once inspired by Kazantzakis’ life, is written for the younger reader, thought adults will also enjoy it. The colorful characters are ancient, yet modern, bringing to life an engaging portrait of the mighty king who carried the light of Hellenism from Greece all the way to the Far East. In this fictional account, we see into Alexander’s world, his thoughts, through the lens of Kazantzakis’ imagination. The sisters have translated other of the great Cretan author’s works and I can’t wait to dive into the next one.
My Greek Books—December Edition
That’s it for this edition of My Greek Books. Hope you’re enjoying this series. I’ll be back next month with more My Greek Books. It’s getting cold around here. Hope you’ll curl up with a steaming cup of tea, coffee, or even hot chocolate, and escape with a good book!
Till next time – keep reading!
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