NOVELS

      "Ekati's Smile"
Patakis, 1995
Award: Ministry of Culture National Award;
Circle of the Greek Children's Book Award.
Translated into Spanish and Catalan
ISBN: 960-360-527-1

Synopsis:
An ancient jewel connects the past with the present and seals the destinies of the four girls who wore it. The heroines are: Theano, the only daughter of the tyrant of ancient Samos, Polycrates; Theoniki, a nun in a Byzantine convent; Areti, the daughter of a noble man at the beginning of the 19th Century; and Teti, a young girl of our time.

This is a historical novel that tells the stories of four heroines while, at the same time, bringing light on the historical events of their different times.

Reviews:
"...Theoniki is perfect in terms of Byzantian research and authenticity. Congratulations."
Eleni Glykatzi-Arveler
Dean of the University of the Sorbonne
President of the Board of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi

"...I must say, from the outset, that I believe this attempt to be a success and an exceptional work for Greek literature. Supported by deeply understood and diligently researched sources, the writer has adorned the narrative structure of her novel with interesting detail. See, for example, the moving story of Areti (1808 A.D.), in which folkloric and historical data are interwoven with the main and definitive fabric of the narrative, thus becoming cohesive factors throughout the text.

The desires and passions of the heroines of the book, which are kept at an idealistic level, are the constants of the narrative which are then interwoven with historical facts in order to emphasize those elements that are multifaceted and significant in our daily routines.

This is an outstanding book which should, I believe, be read by each and everyone since it combines literary quality with accuracy in a number of aspects. The fact that Litsa Psarafti's book has been awarded with the prize is entirely justified and the book meets, in my opinion, with the expectations of the most demanding and difficult readers. We must thank her for this."

M. G. Varvounis, Professor of the University of Thrace
Samiakon Vima Newspaper, 23/6/1997

"Litsa Psarafti's latest novel, which can be read by mainly adolescent but also adult readers, is most certainly her most mature work to date. It is also possibly the most interesting she has yet to write while it is also the result of a unique bout of inspiration as well as exhaustive research.

Through its pages the most important moments of Greek history and the present flow effortlessly and these are flavoured with the actions of heroes, leaders, artists, noblemen and conquerors -- actions that left their mark on Greek history - as well as the everyday lives of simple people moved by emotion, dreams, hope and who, each in their individual way added light and eternity to this country and to its wounded and eternally emotional and fragile form.

The reader's historical journey is an interesting one and it is portrayed both graphically and knowledgeably. And, if one were to extract some of the most beautiful parts from the exquisite pages of her book, then surely the story of the nun Theoniki - the Byzantine tale - will definitely steal anyone's heart. It is filled with passion, purity, faith and innocence, atmosphere and historical accuracy, as well as a spiritual love that is unique."

Eleni Sarantiti
Eleftherotypia Newspaper, 21/2/1996

"The novel in question is an important work of unparalleled narrative force and personal style. Genuine lyrical elements which entrance and charm the reader adorn its narrative. Its pages are ablaze with poetry. Whatever comes out of Litsa Psarafti's magical pen, having been burnt in the furnace of her heart and mind, is imbued with a lyrical prose of decency and humanity.
"Ekati's Smile" is filled with inspiration, talent, the sunlight of the Aegean, power, knowledge, gallantry and decorum. Its pages have the aroma of the Greece of yesteryear, of today and of forever. The interwoven fates of the heroines - Theano, Theoniki, Areti and Teti - as well all those who enter their lives, make up the melody of a poignant song that is at times filled with protest and at others with faith in life.

"Ekati's Smile" by Litsa Psarafti is a deeply human story in which the desire of thought and reflection is entwined with the lyricism of the most authentic, the most human and the most dignified of passions."
Ioannis G. Theoharis
Proinos Logos Newspaper, 3/2/1996

"This novel has been created with the use of a difficult yet very effective technique.Through the power of Psarafti's description, the reader slips into time and experiences all that which he is reading.

With this work the author has managed to condense the most important historical periods of Samos' history while at the same time focusing on the desires, ambitions and trials of simple people and yet still managing to refer to all the issues that concern young people today.And with this novel she has worthily added another award to those with which she has already been honoured."

Elpida Katsikoyannis
Apoplus Magazine, Issue 17, 1997

"In "Ekati's Smile", Litsa Psarafti has achieved a difficult task: she has depicted an entire world - the Greek world - at various periods of its history while at the same time skirting the conventions which govern the writing of a historical novel.
With the inspired use of the necklace, passed successively down from generation to generation and possessed at different times by each of her four heroines, (Psarafti) is able to make the leaps in time which allow her to shed light on both the historical periods as well as on the different forms of the girls' sexual awakenings. Her narrative approach is equal to the spontaneity and the timidity, to the courage and the self-restraint, that is the essence of adolescence."
Sophia Hatzidimitriou
The Educators' Society Magazine, March-May 1998

"Ekati's Smile" is a milestone in children's literature in our country. An inspired historical journey, it is full of love, magic and strong messages.This book - bewitching and rich in its language - is written with a deep love for our country, a love which can be traced in each separate story. (The reader) admires and recognises the intimacy which the mountains, the marbles, the beaches, the monasteries and even the contemporary motorways of present life are touched. Each image of each era which has passed over the body of our country has the power to move. You feel as if you have been touched by the breath of things in the past that continue to exercise upon us the charm of our distinctive history.

Litsa Psarafti's effortless ability to capture the atmosphere and feel of the times and to slip into the linguistic landscape is exceptional. "Ekati's Smile" is not only the schematic smile of an ancient necklace.it is a hopeful smile upon the standards of our literature. Works such as Litsa Psarafti's make our literature vigorous and flourishing and give it the attention it deserves."
Elsa Chiou
Haravgi Newspaper, Samos, 11/4/1998

"...The National Prize was awarded to a worthy, tireless and strong spiritual contributor of children's and youth literature for a work that is important not only for its literary value but also for its genre. It is a historical novel with many interlinking parts, and historical novels are the best type of literature that can be given by an author to children and adolescent readers.

An author truly needs to have courage, in addition to talent, in order to write a historical novel. It is that which, in times of bad omens, helps one maintain a ray of hope, a persistence in one's duty, and a faith in the future: a faith that is beneficial, that in turn calls upon readers to trust the creator of the work they are reading.

With the discovery of a golden necklace made in 522 B.C., which is lost and reappears, having lain hidden either in the land or in the depths of the sea for centuries, Litsa Psarafti weaves and interconnects four different stories with four different heroines. The events, their surroundings and the atmosphere of each historical period in which the heroines live are cleverly brought to life. At the core of each story lies a tale of romance which keeps the interest of each reader (young or old) at bay, while at the same time details surrounding the history of Samos are also revealed.

The careful reader will easily understand the hard work the author has put into creating the novel. He will realise the careful prior research that was necessary in order to select, from a history of 2,500 years, the most important and representative events, to compress them and fit them into a book that will be alive and "readable", as we characterise books that are read voraciously, and that will open up one's horizons while simultaneously enriching one's historical knowledge without becoming boring."

Loty Petrovits-Androutsopoulou
Diadromes Magazine, Issue 47, 1997

"With this novel, the author gives us her most mature work to date following a painful and constant journey that began in 1980. She has created a historical composition in many parts that is filled with romance and thought, and whose stories are connected by a truly original element. The plot, the richness of Litsa Psarafti's material and her otherwise dramatic and otherwise lyrical writing, with vivid characters who leap out of the innermost depths of centuries of Greek history, protect "Ekati's Smile" from stiltedness by granting an uninterrupted flow and flexibility to its narrative despite the great amount of research conducted by the author in order to succeed in providing it with historical accuracy."
M. Tsatsou
Kathimerini Newspaper, 16/2/2000

"With the use of her narrative talent, the author leads the reader to her characters (mythological, historical and fictional) and lights them up in such a way that makes them familiar and likeable. Above all, she confirms that Greek history, from mythological times to our days, is constant, whole, unbroken and indestructible."
Titina Danelli
Rizospastis Newspaper, 18/1/1996

"...Your book, "Ekati's Smile", penetrates time, customs, history, as well as characters, by keeping the reader alert and in constant solicitude about what is to occur next!

...I was truly impressed by the difference in style, depending on each historical period, the richness of historical knowledge, and the maturity of the language. Emotion was also not missing and was provided in perfect amounts!

...In closing, I would like to say that your book can be used in addition to school books to those who teach Literature and History in schools. Students truly have a lot to learn from this!!"

Olga Butova, Professor

"What I believe to be the most important element in this book, "Ekati's Smile" - awarded the State Prize - is that although it speaks specifically of Samos it transcends the island and becomes relevant to all of Greece. In making reference to this island, the story effectively depicts the historical continuity of Greece, the rich and century-long history and the tradition that constitute a source of life and the raison-d'etre of this nation. Tradition and history unite past and present in an admirable manner; myth and legend, crosses and columns, war and peace make up the mosaic of Hellenic history, which the author throw light on through the history of her own birthplace."
"Historical references in the works of Samian writers of children's literature"
Sophia Chatzidimitriou-Paraschou
Conference on Contemporary Children's Literature, May 1998

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