First Topos edition: April 2009
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Two close friends, in their fifties, the first one an activist in non-governmental organizations, the other a former member of extreme left groups, meet in Athens after the first one returns from ten years of self imposed exile in Europe. It's high summer (the year is 2000) and they decide to spend some days in the islands together with their much younger girl friends Flora (twenty five) and Maria (thirty something).
The island they visit, and more particularly, the place where they settle for their holidays (Chora), is dominated by a strange community isolated from the rest of the country and the world geographically, financially, socially, politically, and culturally.
The inhabitants live by the rules of a peculiar system of direct democracy: shops open near midnight and are closed in the early morning, TV sets are switched off, open readings of books and political discussions in the Women' s Co-operative (a soviet like commune) constitute their favorite entertainment, while their general attitude to the tourists is arrogant and even hostile sometimes.
At first the four friends are fascinated by what seems to them a lonely Utopia kept alive by political visions of a remote past that believed blindly in the triumph of communism. This is mostly the case for Sanidopoulos, the activist whose heart beats again to the rebellious tempo of his youth, of May '68 in Paris. He is enchanted by the recognized leader of this community, the temptress Flora, who continues in her sixties to be as sexual and earthy as in her thirties. The reader discovers that both of them share something in common: they have inspired the heroes of two novels. Flora has been the heroine of a book by a famous Greek author in the sixties, while Sanidopoulos has been the hero in a book written by Maragkopoulos himself! Apart from that superficial affinity, what really brings these two people together is their common anger over social injustice, their obsession with spring
, that is the Marxist obsession not simply to explain but also to change the world...
The passionate love that grows between them soon brings other people on the scene like the old teacher Dimitris Bogas, a phlegmatic leftist, and the very young Stella who becomes a friend to the young Flora and Maria. The story gradually takes the form of a thriller: as the days of summer pass by, the company of the four Athenian friends finds itself actively involved in the weird circumstances that emerge slowly but surely in that part of the island: a fire in the mountains; a TV crew thrown to the sea by nervous agitators; stories about past political vendettas which seem still to prevail among the locals; growing suspicions about the secret subversive role of the elder Flora; other suspicions that some people here are “authorized” by an unwritten moral agreement to take the law into their own hands. And, as we reach the end, a terrorist act: a government minister, a doctor managing the local hospital, a monk at the head of the local monastery, their security guards as well as the innocent Stella all left dead after a bomb attack. The repercussions reverberate, no character is left unchanged. With this explosion the narrative winds the reader into a whirlwind of unexpected turns.
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and a whole chapter (in English).