The Siege of Troy: A Retelling of the Iliad in the New Book by Theodoris Kallifatides

April 1944. In a small Greek village, under German occupation since 1941, the new teacher arrives by bus from Athens, “a young woman, dressed in black and thin as a candle flame”. And then, a secret crush starts eating away at one of her teenage students. When the British bomb the village to destroy the makeshift airfield the Germans have built there, the young teacher takes refuge with her students in a nearby cave. Under the sound of sirens, in the semi-darkness and humidity, he begins to tell the children a story about another war, when the Greeks were besieging Troy. Day by day, he recounts heroic battles, hardships and unbearable losses; he gives voice to the besiegers and the besieged, he speaks of the anguish, fear, nostalgia that burdens them; he describes how the opponents fought each other and how Helen, when she stands grieving at the walls of Troy to watch Paris duel with Menelaus, she knows that no matter what happens, she will lose. Meanwhile, conquerors and conquered are entangled in a strange merry-go-round of life, death and survival: the Resistance and the surrenderers, the trucks with the dead, the executions of the innocent; the unexpected meetings in the cafes, the air smelling of thyme, oregano and ouzo . Until, on the last day of the war, each will follow his own fate…

The siege of Troy and the siege of a village, the epic and the story – spears and bombs, duels and explosions, army against army, man against man. Timeless truths about the brutality of war and the importance of humanity.

Thodoris Kallifatidis

THE Thodoris Kallifatidis was born in Molaus of Laconia in 1938. He immigrated to Sweden in 1963. There he studied philosophy and then devoted himself to literature. He writes in Swedish and Greek. His books are published in several languages. The Siege of Troy has already been published in Swedish, English, Spanish, Italian, Estonian and Turkish.

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Siege Troy Retelling Iliad Book Theodoris Kallifatides

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