PETROS' WAR by Alkei Zei


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On October 27, 1940, Petros was worried about completing a map of Australia in time for school the next day, but that night the sirens began which marked the beginning of war and an Occupation experienced largely as a struggle against starvation. Within his family the impact is greatest on Petros' mother, aged and coarsened by her obsession with protecting the children, and on Grandfather who steals food from the others and sneaks out of bed, while sister Antigone, who continues to set her hair in 68 white curling rags every night, is sustained by her romanticism through war and peace -- merely changing her image from Deanna Durbin to Valli. Petros' humble role in the Resistance is the painting of slogans -- Give Us Food and, later, Freedom or Death, but death becomes a reality as the beautiful Drossoula, his contact with the Resistance and youthful idol, and his friend Sotiris are lost in episodes respectively tragic and senseless. Four years later when the streets ring with cries ""Hitler is kaput,"" Petros emerges as ""a grown man of fourteen"" and the reader from a compassionate, maturing experience cut from the same sturdy cloth as Wildcat Under Glass (1968).

Pub Date: May 5th, 1972
Publisher: Dutton