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Krisanthi's War: In Hitler's Greece

Krisanthi's War
In Hitler's Greece

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Like Homer’s The Iliad, Ida Egli’s new novel, Krisanthi’s War, is an antiwar epic that brings together the personal and the political and wanders back and forth from the 1930s to the 1980s. The war is World War II. Krisanthi is a modern-day Greek woman who chronicles the lives and the deaths of her family members who strive to survive during the invasion and the occupation of their homeland by German soldiers. Since the characters are mostly Greeks, they have names like Achilles, Penelope and Kalliope, and, since they’re Greeks, the Trojan War isn’t ancient history, but part of the living, breathing present. Krisanthi’s War is full of the sights and the smells of olives and goats, blood and wine, even as it explores the nature of orthodoxy and mystery. When liberation comes and the characters emerge from cellars and go into the Mediterranean sunlight the reader feels a sense of exhilaration and joy. It isn’t revenge or punishment that the author is after, but rather empathy and compassion. Egli offers no easy-to-follow recipe for how to endure in our own difficult times, but she does provide at the end of her narrative a recipe for Loukoumáthes, those delicious fritters often drizzled with honey that melt in your mouth. The novelist, Lawrence Durrell, makes a brief but welcome appearance in these pages, and many of the minor characters, including Andreas Papaloizos and Kyriokos Petaluthas, are as endearing as Krisanthi, her mama and her papa. If you want to meet real Greeks, explore Greek history and fathom the nature of love itself, this book is for you.
—Jonah Raskin—Author of Dark Land, Dark Mirror and Dark Day, Dark Night.

Ida Rae Egli’s new historical novel, Krisanthi’s War, powerfully portrays the journey of three heroic women who bond in Greece during the 1930s and again during the tragic Nazi occupation. This is Anthi’s (Krisanthi) story set within the context of her relationships with Maria and Kalliope— and the men she loved, the men she feared. United by shared experiences, these women find each other and the will to sustain themselves and their families in time of war. “Egli writes with the lilting beauty of poetry itself. Reminiscent of the vivid characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, hers reside in the small Greek village of Lindos, a setting made desperate by the depravations of war—hunger, loss of pride and independence, perpetual fear—which evoke unexpected acts of compassion and courage. “The author is not observing from afar, but is an intimate witness to the lingering, reverberating pain of women in war. Married to a Greek—and having spent more than two years living in Greece during which time she interviewed war widows, the historic context for this novel is authentic and compelling. This is a rich novel of Greek history, women and the power of relationships to overcome any tragedy, no matter how brutal. Krisanthi’s War is not to be missed.”
—Dr. Linda Lambert—Author of The Justine Trilogy

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