Call me Raraou, if you please. I was born in Rampartville, the capital city, even if it’s only a provincial capital. Guess I was around fifteen when we left the place, me and my ma and half a loaf of dry bread between us, a couple of months after they pilloried her it was, they were still celebrating that so-called Liberation of theirs. Not even a team of wild horses could ever drag me back there. Ma neither. Buried her right here, I did, in Athens, the only luxury she ever asked for, her last will and testament. ‘My child, I’m dying, but grant me my last wish, bury me here. I never want to go back there. I don’t care how you do it, just get me a lifetime grave. I never made you do anything else. Don’t you ever let them take me back, not even my bones.’
Rural Greece during German occupation and the Civial War. Meskaris, a young mother whose husband is away fighting, takes as her lover a shy Italian soldier, so as to better feed and clothe her children and to ease her loneliness. With victory, the villagers will exact a terrible revenge.
This powerful Greek novel has sold over 160,000 copies in Greece, an almost unheard of success there, and is an international best-seller in nine languages.
‘Its bitterly eloquent first-person narrative of a provincial childhood in the shadow of war should open the misty eyes of Captain Corelli followers’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent
‘Matesis intelligently grapples with themes of memory and betrayal, providing a welcome antidote to the sentimentality of Captain Corelli’s Mondolin’ New Statesman
'Hypnotic... that rare novel which makes you weep in places, and laugh in many.' Alan Sillitoe
'Matesis should gain the English-language readership he deserves.' Independent