by Edward Fenton ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 12, 1987
The author of several fine books for children, including The Refugee Summer, also set in Greece, writes a many-themed novel that takes place during the last weeks of the totalitarian Junta in the 70's. Grieving and withdrawn since the accidental death of her Greek mother, 12-year. old Carla is sent from New York to Greece to stay with a great-aunt and uncle. At fast surprised by the simplicity of life in their coastal village and incredulous of hints of political repression, Carla soon warms to Aunt Tiggie and her husband Theo and discovers that the local people include a liberal judge under police surveillance, to whom Theo smuggles books, and a boy, Lefteris, who has been trying for six years to join his refugee journalist father in London. As spring turns to summer, Carla takes part in a series of rebellious acts, culminating in distracting police while an eminent poet makes his escape; but when the turmoil on Cyprus leads to Greek mobilization, she and Lefteris are smuggled to Italy, only to hear midway that the Colonels have been overthrown at last. This deceptively quiet book is episodic in design, almost a series of short stories linked by its themes: the ancients whose stories are symbolically reenacted by the characters (Theo and Tiggie are Baucis and Philomen; a neighbor's mourned daughter, married to an Australian, returns at Easter: Persephone; a modern Odysseus takes Carla to Italy; etc.); the cycle of death, mourning, and rebirth in Carla's life and in Greece; the straggle for liberty and freedom of expression. Speaking to all the senses, Fenton wonderfully evokes his adopted country; and even readers not attuned to his classical allusions should find his characters recognizable, their concerns of deep interest.
Pub Date: June 12, 1987
Page Count: 184
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1987
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