The author turns the ugliness of war and occupation into art. He convincingly observes the humanity even of the deadly enemy and the beauty of Athens in its shell-pocked destruction: the lilacs from the dead land, so to speak. The story is told in two stages, the second written long after the first, the first from the outside in: in a tidy and lucid third-person narrative; the second from the inside out: through the experiences documented by the protagonists. Together they chronicle an era and follow the fated course of Theano Galati, artist and idol of the Greek theater.
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