Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"My Last Lament" by James William Brown



A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman's story of her own and her nation's epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II.

Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. She is part of an evolving Greece, one moving steadily away from its rural traditions. To capture the fading folk art of lamenting, an American researcher asks Aliki to record her laments, but in response, Aliki sings her own story...

It begins in a village in northeast Greece, where Aliki witnesses the occupying Nazi soldiers execute her father for stealing squash. Taken in by her friend Takis's mother, Aliki is joined by a Jewish refugee and her son, Stelios. When the village is torched and its people massacred, Aliki, Takis and Stelios are able to escape just as the war is ending.

Fleeing across the chaotic landscape of a post-war Greece, the three become a makeshift family. They are bound by friendship and grief, but torn apart by betrayal, madness and heartbreak.

Through Aliki's powerful voice, an unforgettable one that blends light and dark with wry humor, My Last Lament delivers a fitting eulogy to a way of life and provides a vivid portrait of a timeless Greek woman, whose story of love and loss is an eternal one. ~taken from Goodreads

This was such a heart wrenching story. I LOVE LOVE LOVE historical fiction, which all my blog followers probably know by now. This was by far the most emotionally draining piece I've read lately. 

As a young girl, Aliki, witnesses her father's murder during WWII. From there she tells her story about the struggles of war. Death, poverty, hunger, and time of pure fear gripped me with every page I turned. 

The author does an amazing job at making it feel like the story is being told directly to the reader. This story is told via "cassette tapes" which gave it a real feel of being captured for historical purposes. Very descriptive writing. I had no problem imagining every little detail of the story. I liked the little bits of dark humor added throughout the storytelling. 

The characters are very unique and quite interesting, though appealing is not a word I would use to describe most. You definitely will not forget them. This is a book to be read slowly so that you can take in every little word. It is a view of WWII from Greece, a point of view not often seen in historical fiction writing, which I enjoyed. 

My Last Lament is available now. It is not for light reading. Be ready to be overwhelmed with emotions. A 4 star read for me! 

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read and give my honest review.

Happy Reading!

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