NOVELS

 

"The Double Journey"
Patakis, 1987
Award: Michael Averof Prize of the Society of Greek Literature;
Pier Paolo Vergerio Commendation by the University of Padova
ISBN: 960-293-298-8

Synopsis:
This novel tells of an unknown page of Greek contemporary history during the Second World War and unfolds on the island of Samos and in Palestine. The ruthless bombing of the island forces a family to flee the island as refugees and travel to Palestine.

Forty years later, the girl (now a woman) who lived through that harsh uprooting, finds herself in the land that had taken her and her family in, and she will relive the drama of being a refugee again - this time of a different people - while the past will connect with the present in this.double journey.

Reviews:
"With concise and unaffected narrative - at times dense and passionate - the reader's interest is held fast. Two further elements that can be pointed out as being assets of the book are: the child's perspective of events and situations that primarily relate to adults and the objectivity with which the various political events that seen to be behind the wars are discussed and briefly commented upon. Alongside these elements, lively dialogue and a constant freshness feature throughout the novel while the human element permeates the entire work."
Children's Literature Review, 1989

"With her new book, "The Double Voyage", Litsa Psarafti has given us an extremely interesting and charming story that is young at heart and with a plot that is filled with adventure and suspense (all elements which make a book desireable - particularly in Greece where fiction for the young could do with more care and attention and possibly a different kind of thinking.

We should also say that this near-autobiographical book is beautifully written in a tone that is tender, rich, luscious, yet also discrete."
Eleni Sarantiti
Eleftherotypia Newspaper, 22/10/1988

"With a tone that is both tender and poetic, a tone that sets her writing apart, Litsa Psarafti manages to temper the tragic nature of the situation she describes. She is able to move the reader from anguish to relief, from bitterness to joy, and to find beauty in the most joyless environment.This book, which contains both historical and contemporary testimony - and based on some of the author's own personal experiences - is filled with pain and a love for humanity. It is critical of pro-war policy and is, in essence, a cry of protest against war and its consequences on people throughout the earth and regardless of their race. It is  of being read by all and particularly by the young so they may learn, they may be moved, and they may think.
Vito Angelopoulou"

Kathimerini Newspaper, 24/9/1988

"...throughout the narrative there is a realistic and faithful depiction of the environment in which the fictional and real characters coexist.The history of the country comes alive through the narrative or, as I. M. Panagiotopoulos has said "history is fictionalised".

But the historical novel is not a history lesson, not is it to be judged purely on the basis of historical truth. The truth for the writer is fabrication, a systematic and orderly construct, as Rea Galanaki argues. The historical novel is judged on the basis of its success at interweaving the real with the imaginary, on the basis of the harmony between historical accuracy and ingenious imagination. "The Double Voyage" has succeeded in this.

The main content, which is historical, is confined within the narrative of contemporary incidents, which set the narrator's memory in motion. This narrative technique not only does not undermine but, in fact, it supports the historical content of the works because the historical novel is a bridge which unites the past with the present, nullifying time.

One observation is that the writer uses history in two ways: first she draws the narrative world from history itself - by this I mean the location, the people, the customs and their traditions; and second, history offers her the wider historical theme through which the specific subject is developed.

Let us not forget that the overriding issue of the historical novel is not history, but the person in history: the simple human life that is portrayed as historical. The fictitious heroes, simple but also universal, who provide the writer with the freedom in plot and outcome, something that cannot be provided by historical figures.

Experience live is, in my opinion, the primary driving force, the material that the writer possesses. Beginning, however, with an autobiographical impulse, the writer is not restricted to an autobiographical novel. The writer positions history in his writings in a dynamic and not a static way.

In the most convincing portrayal of past eras, two elements are combined: the external which relates to the description of places, morals and customs; and the internal which relates to people, thoughts, and their character.
"
Sophia Paraschou
Conference on Contemporary Children's Literature, May 1998

..."The Double Journey" is a very beautiful book. Litsa Psarafti gives us her autobiographical testimony as she too has lived through the tragic events of our day. She narrates these to us clearly. In heartwarming writing, without superfluous and pseudo-pedagogical saccharine, she unfolds her world before us in exactly the same way as she saw it on that morning so long ago.

What follows is a frightening passage through a foreign land, the terrible train of refugeedom, the concentration camps. This is the first journey: the child in the milestone of history. Forceful descriptions, quick and incisive psychological descriptions, the vivid depiction of the atmosphere. The book could end here: ".and we returned to Samos. And they lived happily and we lived even more happily." It does not end here, however. Because "they" - the two friends of the narrator, Jewish Sarah and Palestinian Rasmiya - most certainly do not live well. Psarafti, with the second journey to the same place, to the arid plains of Nazareth, shines the light of yesterday's tragedy on that of today. She courageously approaches the red-hot subject of the impasse and she makes the conscience of her reader tremble. "The Double Voyage" is certainly a jewel of literature."

Kostas Kalatzis.
Proceedings, Symposium on Samian Literature, 1989

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