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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Interesting Blend of Fact and Fiction and Some Wonderfully Descriptive Writing
on 11 March 2012
Sofka Zinovieff's first novel 'The House on Paradise Street' is an engrossing, interesting and warmly convincing story with two narrative voices; one of whose is Maud, wife of Nikitas Perifanis, and the other, Antigone, the estranged mother of Nikitas, and a former freedom fighter who was forced to leave Greece for Russia during the Greek Civil War, and in doing so, abandoned Nikitas as a small child.
When Nikitas, a vibrant and gregarious, but sometimes difficult man, is killed in a car accident in Athens, his wife Maud (much younger than Nikitas and his third wife) feels compelled to search into Nikitas' complicated past life and in doing so, she tracks down Nikitas' mother, Antigone, in order to provide answers to questions that only Antigone can answer. After sixty years in exile, Antigone returns home to Greece, but can she become reconciled with her family or has too much pain, suffering and grief been caused to avoid this ever taking place?
I have no wish to spoil this story for prospective readers, so I will try not to reveal too much information in this review, but I can say that this is an absorbing family story which moves backwards and forwards in time and takes the reader to Nazi-occupied Athens and then relates how a young Antigone gets caught up in the political machinations of the Greek Civil War which leads to her being forced to leave her homeland and find a place for herself in a very different country. There is some wonderfully descriptive writing here; the author's portrayal of Greece is beautifully depicted, as is her account of Antigone's young partisan years as she hides in the mountains for survival. Sofka Zinovieff has blended together an interesting mix of both fact and fiction in 'The House on Paradise Street' and the result is an engrossing story with a wonderful sense of time and place.