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Political Novels

Nicholas Gage
Ballantine, 1983

The setting is during the civil war in Greece, 1946-49. Armies of the two sides sweep across a little village in the northwest of Greece. As usual, it is those who trust, who stay put, who reject violence who suffer. Eleni, the author's mother tries to get her children out of the village to safety. She is caught, imprisoned, beaten and killed.

This is Gage's passionate memory of her, and of the ultimate stupidity of fanaticism that "kills the village in order to save it." He allows us to see, day by day, anxiety by anxiety, what it means to be caught up in a war without rules and where the situation changes constantly.

Vassilis Vassilikos

The novel and the famous movie (see my page on the film) based on it were taken from a true story. In 1963, leftist politician Gregory Lambrakis was assassinated. From the beginning, the complicity of the government with right-wing thugs was suspected. However it took a courageous prosecutor to pursue the case at risk of his own career before anyone was brought to justice. The popular politician, Lambrakis, was remembered by crowds drawing "Z" (short for "he lives") on the pavement. Vassilikos writes in a style that is at times satirical, at times mystical.

Father Dancing

Nick Papandreau
Penguin, 1996.

Papandreau presents a thinly disguised autobiography about growing up at the center of Greece's politics in the 1960's as the son of a famous father and grandfather. His deep affection for his homeland doesn't blind him to a critical appraisal of it - or of his father.
Last modified 12/2/06; posted 7/1999. © 1999-2006 John P. Nordin