Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Pages of War and Love: A Review of The Art of War: a Novel

My Book Review of The Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos:

The Art of War: a Novel by Angela Panayotopulos is an extraordinarily compelling novel, written with an almost surreal style. It is a panoramic mosaic of vignettes erupting in shades of love, war and family

The novel is set on the small Greek island of Mythaki, over a period of years before and during WWII. We see events unfold mostly through the eyes of a brother and sister, Kalli and Gabe, first their idyllic simple island life and then the bitter and tragic transformations wrought by the war.

The author paints her canvas of words vividly, her backdrop of war palpable and stark. But it is her characters, the atmosphere and the small details that breathe a subtle and pulsating life into the book. It is a poignant, warm, amusing and sometimes brutal portrait of a piece of history frozen in time. I also like the unusual feel of the book, that the structure and ambience gives a slightly unreal touch to the story. I think it adds to both the portrayal of Greek island culture and the hollow reality of a warzone. By the end of the book I felt as if I knew both the island of Mythaki and its people personally.

I did notice that the author left a few characters dangling in oblivion, but in a way it also reflected the unpredictability of warfare, so I didn’t find it distracted excessively from the storyline. Overall I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it.

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