My Last Lament
James William Brown
My Last Lament delivers a fitting eulogy to a way of life and provides a vivid portrait of a timeless Greek woman, whose story of love and loss is an eternal one.
A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman’s story of her own—and her nation’s—epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II.
Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. She is part of an evolving Greece, one moving steadily away from its rural traditions. To capture the fading folk art of lamenting, an American researcher asks Aliki to record her laments, but in response, Aliki sings her own story...
It begins in a village in northeast Greece, where Aliki witnesses the occupying Nazi soldiers execute her father for stealing squash. Taken in by her friend Takis’s mother, Aliki is joined by a Jewish refugee and her son, Stelios. When the village is torched and its people massacred, Aliki, Takis and Stelios are able to escape just as the war is ending.
Fleeing across the chaotic landscape of a postwar Greece, the three become a makeshift family. They’re bound by friendship and grief, but torn apart by betrayal, madness and heartbreak.
Through Aliki’s powerful voice, an unforgettable one that blends light and dark with wry humor, My Last Lament delivers a fitting eulogy to a way of life and provides a vivid portrait of a timeless Greek woman, whose story of love and loss is an eternal one.
Advance Galley Reviews
I think that the history of the lamenter was quite interesting, however I was displeased with the way the stories were told in connection to the history. I did not get any passion between the Stelios and Aliki. It just seemed that this could have been written more clearly. It was overly obvious to understand that there was jealousy between the Taki and Stelios, but since the emotions fell flat it was hard to relate.
Aliki a lamenter in Greece tells her story on tapes given to her by an American doing research. While the researcher wants to know about lamenters Aliki tells the story of her life towards the end on WWII and the aftermath in Greece. I knew little to nothing about this time period in Greece and found this novel interesting.
The story featured a cultural facet of Greek history set during the German occupation and the turbulent aftermath. Aliki, a lamenter who mourns the dead is the main character. When her father is shot by the Germans for stealing food, she is traumatized and stops speaking, Her neighbor and son, Taki take Aliki into their home. They are introduced later to Stelios and his mother, needing a place to hide. Taki, Aliki and Stelios are thrown together after a tragic incident in their village. They travel together over the country giving traditional puppet shows, but their interrelationships, misunderstandings and Taki' s mental problems set amongst civil unrest rule and ruin their lives.Told through Aliki's perspective on cassettes meant for a cultural student, sometimes felt odd and disconnected from the events being narrated. The twist at the end was not surprising. Interesting and sad, but well worth reading.