March 31 2012
Zinovieff’s intense, multi-generational story covers 70 years of Greek history. When charismatic journalist Nikitas Perifanis dies suddenly, his third wife, English Maud, is bewildered by the circumstances. The answer lies in the complex relationships and conflicted alliances within the high-ranking Perifanis family, stretching back to the German occupation of the second world war and subsequent civil war. Nikitas had been born in prison to Antigone, rebel and partisan fighter. When she defected to Russia, Nikitas was raised by his aunt and her brutal husband, an alleged collaborator. Now the participants are old or deceased, but with Antigone’s return to Athens for the first time in more than 50 years, the revolutionary baton passes to Nikitas’s children, as Greece suffers again in violent protest and fiscal meltdown. Despite too many threads, this is a fiercely absorbing, passionate book.