NOVELS

  "Dreams made of silk"
Patakis, 2002
ISBN: 960-16-0372-7

Synopsis:
The Kapsali family lives a relatively quiet life on an Aegean island until, the day that a stranger arrives. Italian Paolo Pinneli has come to return an ancient object that his father had stolen during the Italian occupation of the island in 1941.
The Italian's arrival will shake the family and reawaken memories from the past.

Young Danae describes how her family were forced to deal with her mother's affair with an Italian and she herself journeys to redemption and self-understanding.

Reviews:
"...The book is distinguished by its successful combination of history, autobiography and contemporary social problems.

...In its pages, the character of the literary mother is broadened and a further aspect is given to the maternal role: that of the need of the woman-mother to express and satisfy her feelings that have been pushed aside. This is a daring conception since, as far as I am aware, no Greek author for children has yet had the courage to textually deal with the subject of a mother's extramarital relationship.

...The narrative, except for Danae's autobiographical first person narration, is expressed through the repeated first person narrations of the elderly housekeeper, Thekla, who is the intertextual narrator of the novel.

...The technique of the second narrator gives the author the possibility, by way of Thekla, to make comments and observations in order to interpret the lady of the house's decision to abandon her family and go abroad.

...The authenticity of Thekla's speech, however, is undermined by the author's self-referentiality. Litsa Psarafti attracts the reader's attention by providing unedited excerpts from her previous works such as: "Persephone's Tears", "The Mushrooms' Revenge" and "The Double Journey".

...Vangelitsas first-person narrations, heroine of "The Double Journey" and "Persephone's Tears" as well as those of Polyxeni, heroine of the short story "The Carpet" from the short story collection "The Mushrooms' Revenge" are imprisoned within the novel in a kind of confession towards Thekla, the narrator, who has undertaken the role of an intertextual recipient.

The fictional characters' narratives from the author's previous works are called upon by Thekla because of the events that occur in the present. In this way element of historical and contemporary social reality are skilfully and subtly woven into the novel. The author succeeds in further embedding autobiographical elements since fictional Vangelitsa is her literary persona. Faces, incidents and themes from her work parade through this novel, giving the reader a feeling of unity with the author's fictional universe.

Litsa Psarafti knows very well how to create vivid characters. She penetrates deep into the heart of their souls and brings into her narrative the deeper motives behind their actions. The descriptions of the characters come to life directly through lively dialogues and indirectly through the reasoning and comments of the narrator. That which characterizes Litsa Psarafti's characters as well as her writing in general is the author's thriftiness in expressive means. Her successful use of narrative techniques and the variety of themes she approaches reveal, for yet one more time, the ingenuity of Litsa Psarafti's authorial skill."
Anda Katsiki-Givalou
Professor, University of Athens

"...The novel's plot manages, through descriptions of the heroes everyday life, to capture the reader's attention. What, however, one truly enjoys when reading this book is the structure and set-up of the characters. Through their stark descriptions, the author manages to categorize them as types that are rattled by a variety of different emotions and world views through which each one of them perceives life through his/her everyday life microcosm.

...Many stories are woven into the cloth of one basic plot. These stories have to do with the present as well as with the past, and it is at this particular point that Thekla plays a catalytic role. She is the one who pulls the strings and coordinates the different memories. From her memory, with scattered flashbacks to the past, we learn of old stories of the Resistance, the Asia Minor Disaster, and of the once powerful noble family for which she worked and still works.

In this book, Litsa Psarafti's masterful narrative literary skill comes into plain view: where she ingeniously manages to link together the different eras of history and the different characters' views, but more importantly in the different narrative perspectives. Here, Litsa Psarafti uses two first person narrators: Danae who mainly focuses on the present and Thekla who, confined within her speech and the speeches of others, opens up a kind of kaleidoscope of multiple perspectives and world views to the unsuspecting reader."
Meni Kanatsouli
Professor, University of Athens

"...Litsa Psarafti has written a novel that is very interesting in terms of its subject matter. The book is masterfully written for two main reasons. The first is that the author creates characters who are not literary but seem to be born from reality. The second reason is because she talks, with utmost honesty, about very difficult subjects, tying them prudently together and avoiding presenting them as a potpourri of social situations. In closing, we could say that in literature, the boundaries between the young adult and adult phases of life can be erased if what is written helps the reader, without overt didactism and moralizing, to recognize that which s/he has already experienced and can move on or become concerned with that something that is different - and which removes him from his personal microcosm."
Mariza Dekastro
Vima Newspaper, 1/11/2003

"The author provides us with yet another book with is sensitive, reflective, well-written, with an interesting plot, and in which problems that concern and may even afflict many modern families and young minds are approached with discretion and honesty.

...In this novel there are scenes and details which make it tender, sparkling, human and happy.

...A whole world lives and breathes within Litsa Psarafti's new novel. It is a real world filled with its beautiful and ugly facets, with its difficulties and struggles, with the enjoyment of love and the sweetness of certainty, and with its expectations and joys.

We unreservedly recommend it for its perfection and the beauty of its language in addition to the fact that the author addresses children with a speech that is real and with emotions that are honest, conveying to them a pure emotion and faith for life."

Kyriakatikos Rizospastis, 23/06/2002

"Litsa Psarafti lives in reality, struggling for the future and fate of the young people of our time who are forced to adapt to such a difficult environment. It is for this reason that with her latest novel, she plunges the knife deep into the core of the problem. She recreates an island society with a host of fictional and real figures from her own island of Samos where these characters experience many different dramatic events of everyday life.

...In most of the scenes, one feels that the heroes of the novel are right in front of him and that they are narrating their thoughts in the first person in the form of an internal dialogue or monologue. In this way, the author succeeds in linking different events by bypassing the obstacle of placing events in terms of their time sequence. The author's adoption of this technique together with the generous amount of humour that floods this novel even during its most difficult moments are those elements which lend it the lighter note that the reader sorely needs. "Dreams of Silk" is a novel that aspires to touch many different aspects of the harshness of everyday life within the confined society of an island. The book can be read enjoyably, despite the stress created by the repeated problems described and the heroes' impasses, because it is so real. One feels that this story or at least part of it concerns him/her and has been experienced by him because of the real feel of the society described."
Apoplous Magazine, No. 26-27, 2002

"Having "served time" in the social novel, the author outlines the life of a family on a Greek island.

...It is an image-bank of contemporary and daring moments, provided with clarity and narrative force, within a context in which relationships are dissected and provided eloquently through flashbacks of the historical and social past as given by the family's housekeeper."

Yiannis Papadatos
Diavazo Magazine, July-August 2003

"...Litsa Psarafti, well-known in the field of children's literature and whose work includes more than thirty books, belongs to those authors who skillfully transform everyday life into events. In her book "Dreams of Silk", in which we are informed that the author has "played" with the characters and events presented in previous books she has written, we realize that she doesn't hesitate to approach the significant theme of "otherness" within a world that is sinking...

...Litsa Psarafti, by using "otherness" as the main moving vehicle of her plot, creates a complex image of otherness in contemporary society.

The well-known author provides us with yet another powerful and well-written social novel in which she approaches contemporary problems. In addition to the breakup of a family - something that, unfortunately, is very common in our days - she fhinds a way to talk about other subject, such as children with special needs, first love, and homosexuality. This is an exceptionally interesting book which enriches the subject matter approached by our literature for children and young adults."

Diadromes Magazine, Issue 6, 2002

"...I must confess that I do not love books... I have always felt that they weren't "alive". That is, until our teacher suggested that I read a book for a school report. I chose "Dreams of Silk". The book truly moved me. I read it with real interest and you made me feel as if I knew your heroine. I would be really happy if you would accept my admiration and congratulations for the significant work that you have written up until today. I would also really like to meet you..."
A. Antonopoulou
Schoolgirl, Psychico High School

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