by Nicholas Flokos ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1998
Flokos debuts with a fable-like tale of what it means to be Greek today. He tries for a comic bittersweetness, but the result is seldom more than intermittently amusing. Natives of Samothrace, a backwater of the modern world, yearn for the glory that would come from repatriation of the glorious Winged Victory, the magnificent statue taken by the French in 1863 and imprisoned in the Louvre ever since. Suffering ""an inherited loss, we Samothracians are born dispossessed,"" Flokos tells us--or rather the local villagers do, speaking as an anonymous chorus and doing most of the talking in the book. These villagers' hopes for return of the Nike, quixotic already, become all the more so when they're pinned on so frail a stalk as the bumbler and antihero, Photi Anthropotsis, bicycle delivery boy, love-lorn poet, and devoted guard of the ""findspot"" from which the Nike was taken. Nevertheless, unheroic or not, Photi is the one smitten most deeply and irreversibly with ""glypholepis"" (statue-love), who rides his bicycle around to collect money for a trip--to France, to the Louvre, to the glory of the Nike's return. To France he goes, and from there on readers may need patience as Flokos stretches to book-length the stuff of a short story--drawing in lovers, actors, a PBS director (dominatrix by preference) and her camera crew, a protracted escape with stolen (guess: heavy and marble) property, and a reversal that at last lets this long skinny tale come to an end. Flokos may have imagined creating again the joie de vivre of a Never on Sunday, but on the page this talking-village story stays thin for all its well-intended effort, not escaping the two dimensionality--in voice, character, event--that gives it a feeling less of novel than of treatment for screen. A cartoonish attempt at the spritely that, if amusing to some, will be wearying to others.
Pub Date: July 1, 1998
Page Count: 196
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998
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