A preeminent work of modern Greek literature, this provocative novel poses difficult questions about the nation’s Nazi occupation and early Civil War years
First published in 1994 to a storm of controversy, Thanassis Valtinos’s probing novel Orthokostá defied standard interpretations of the Greek Civil War. Through the documentary-style testimonies of multiple narrators, among them the previously unheard voices of right-wing collaborationists, Valtinos provides a powerful, nuanced interpretation of events during the later years of Nazi occupation and the early stages of the nation’s Civil War. His fictionalized chronicle gives participants, victims, and innocent bystanders equal opportunity to bear witness to such events as the burning of Valtinos’s home village, the detention and execution of combatants and civilians in the monastery of Orthokostá, and the revenge killings that ensued.
As a transforming work of literature, this book redefined established methods of fiction; as a work of revisionist history, it changed the way Greece understands its own past. Now, through this masterful translation of Orthokostá, English-language readers have full access to the tremendous vitality of Valtinos’s work and to the divisive Civil War experiences that continue to echo in Greek politics and events today.