The Green Shore

( 3 )

Overview

IN HER MASTERFUL DEBUT NOVEL, The Green Shore, award-winning writer NatalieBakopoulos vividly illuminates a seminal yet little-explored moment in Greek history: the 1967 military coup d’état, which ushered in a seven-year period of devastating brutality and repression.

Through lyrical prose of wisdom and sophistication, we follow the adventures of one family, whose stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of this turbulent period. Eleni, a widowed doctor, ...

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The Green Shore

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Overview

IN HER MASTERFUL DEBUT NOVEL, The Green Shore, award-winning writer NatalieBakopoulos vividly illuminates a seminal yet little-explored moment in Greek history: the 1967 military coup d’état, which ushered in a seven-year period of devastating brutality and repression.

Through lyrical prose of wisdom and sophistication, we follow the adventures of one family, whose stories of love and resistance play out against the backdrop of this turbulent period. Eleni, a widowed doctor, struggles with her lost sense of passion, both personal and political, in the face of this latest challenge to democracy. Her brother, Mihalis, an eccentric poet of some renown, finds himself keeping a low profile as he attempts to reconcile with his estranged wife. Eleni’s daughter Sophie, a student of French literature, gets swept up in the resistance alongside her privileged, left-leaning boyfriend, while her youngest child, pensive Anna, watches events unfold with increasing anxiety. As the years pass and the dictatorship’s oppressive rule continues unchallenged, their lives unfold in surprising ways, each seeking and finding love and fulfillment as they struggle to make their own peace with when to stay silent and when to act.

Set in Athens and Paris, The Green Shore is an ambitiously told and transporting literary tour de force that delves into a momentous episode in the history of a distant country. The stories of these unforgettable characters sear our hearts and make us understand not only this place, but also what it means to be human, in a new way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bakopoulos debuts with a family drama and revolutionary romance set during the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. On the April night that the army stages its coup, 21-year-old Sophie is dancing at her leftist boyfriend Nick’s Athens apartment when soldiers barge in and arrest suspected student dissidents. Refusing to break contact with Nick and his fellow activists or abandon the liberal political convictions inherited from her family, Sophie sinks dangerously deeper into antijunta resistance. Meanwhile, her widowed mother, Eleni, faces possible trouble at the hospital where she works when the junta forbids treating torture victims. Eleni’s brother, a famous leftist poet who’s fought oppression before, has to gauge his response more carefully, since his family is at risk and an opportunity arises to reconnect with his estranged wife. Meanwhile, Sophie’s observant younger sister tries to understand the purpose of the struggle. Warm, engaging characters and a richly authentic Greek setting make for an engaging read with commercial appeal. And while some narrative threads are less taut than others, Bakopoulos’s juxtaposition of a historic conflict with the joys and trials of motherhood, the heedlessness of youth, and the durability of family ties is poignant and effective. Agent: Amy Williams, McCormick & Williams. (June)
Entertainment Weekly
"Must List"
Lansing City Pulse
"The writing is lush, tinged with sexual longing and fear and with dreams that are interrupted."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mark Athitakis
“Natalie Bakopoulos, in her sharp debut novel . . . [explores] the ways oppression clarifies and complicates desire, either binding our emotional and political selves or snapping them in two.”
Shepherd Express - Jenni Herrick
The Green Shore is an extremely compelling, deeply personal tale . . . this searing literary accomplishment renders clear a monumental episode in our world history through the very intimate portrait of one family.”
author of The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
“Natalie Bakopoulos has that rare gift, the ability to imagine a traumatic historical event in the form of individual lives and ordinary details. The Green Shore is compelling, personal, and full of quietly real moments.”
author of The Welsh Girl - Peter Ho Davies
The Green Shore is an engrossing novel about political oppression, played out on an intimate family scale. Bakopoulos charts the subtle, gnawing pressures of life under the Greek junta—the steady drip of daily coercion—with an exacting empathy. In particular, her depiction of love under tyranny—by turns hesitant, furtive and liberating—is as astute as it is moving.”
author of The Feast of Love - Charles Baxter
“The slow descent of political oppression and its invasion of private life—both these subjects are treated with insight and deep feeling in Natalie Bakopoulos's ambitious novel. Her characters are ‘on fire, exploding from the inside out,’ and they all reveal themselves memorably under the terrible (and sometimes ordinary) political and private circumstances in which they find themselves.”
author of Other Waters - Eleni N. Gage
“The family at the center of Natalie Bakopoulos’s gripping debut novel exists at the crossroads where the personal meets the political, as they indulge their idiosyncrasies and develop their destinies during Greece's military dictatorship of the late 60s and early 70s. There’s plenty of drama and catharsis, as befitting a Greek tragedy, but the book remains, at heart, a meditation on the constant pain of nostalgia for times and places we have lost, and an exploration of how we express love—of family, partner, and country—in times of oppression.”
From the Publisher
“Bakopoulos has an enormous heart, and she is a writer to watch."

“Natalie Bakopoulos, in her sharp debut novel . . . [explores] the ways oppression clarifies and complicates desire, either binding our emotional and political selves or snapping them in two.”

The Green Shore is an extremely compelling, deeply personal tale . . . this searing literary accomplishment renders clear a monumental episode in our world history through the very intimate portrait of one family.”

“Natalie Bakopoulos has that rare gift, the ability to imagine a traumatic historical event in the form of individual lives and ordinary details. The Green Shore is compelling, personal, and full of quietly real moments.”

"Must List"

"The writing is lush, tinged with sexual longing and fear and with dreams that are interrupted."

The Green Shore is an engrossing novel about political oppression, played out on an intimate family scale. Bakopoulos charts the subtle, gnawing pressures of life under the Greek junta—the steady drip of daily coercion—with an exacting empathy. In particular, her depiction of love under tyranny—by turns hesitant, furtive and liberating—is as astute as it is moving.”

“The slow descent of political oppression and its invasion of private life—both these subjects are treated with insight and deep feeling in Natalie Bakopoulos's ambitious novel. Her characters are ‘on fire, exploding from the inside out,’ and they all reveal themselves memorably under the terrible (and sometimes ordinary) political and private circumstances in which they find themselves.”

“The family at the center of Natalie Bakopoulos’s gripping debut novel exists at the crossroads where the personal meets the political, as they indulge their idiosyncrasies and develop their destinies during Greece's military dictatorship of the late 60s and early 70s. There’s plenty of drama and catharsis, as befitting a Greek tragedy, but the book remains, at heart, a meditation on the constant pain of nostalgia for times and places we have lost, and an exploration of how we express love—of family, partner, and country—in times of oppression.”

“Warm, engaging characters and a richly authentic Greek setting make for an engaging read with commercial appeal...Bakopoulos’s juxtaposition of a historic conflict with the joys and trials of motherhood, the heedlessness of youth, and the durability of family ties is poignant and effective.”

The New York Times Book Review
“Bakopoulos is ambitious, sympathetically attentive to her characters and frequently perceptive. When she combines those virtues with her strongest writing, her promise as a novelist shows.”
The Chicago Tribune
“Bakopoulos has an enormous heart, and she is a writer to watch."
Booklist
“Deeply imbued with the passion and honor synonymous with Greek culture, abundant with sensuous imagery and stimulating discourse, Bakopoulos’ debut novel is a sumptuous and provocative portrait of the nexus of the personal with the political.”
Library Journal
On a spring evening in Greece in 1967, a political coup d'état comes from out of nowhere. All lines of communication are shut down, and thousands are arrested and tortured. Debut novelist Bakopoulos examines the story via the personal experiences of a family living near Athens. While the family's elders know that it is best to keep a low profile, having lived through previous political turmoil, the younger generation is motivated to fight the good fight; others seek to flee the country altogether. Whatever the emotions, they are at fever pitch, pitting love of place and allegiance to country against commitment to family. Amid the takeover, each member of this extended family takes on personal risk in order to exert his or her own sense of humanity. VERDICT Bakopoulos takes an event from halfway around the world and places the reader in the midst of the love, the angst, and the turmoil. Lovers of Greek culture and history—and students of its current political upheaval—will find much to discuss in this compelling novel. [see Prepub Alert, 12-19-2011]—Susanne Wells, Indianapolis
Kirkus Reviews
A family's life and loves play out amidst the political turmoil of the military coup (aka "The Regime of the Colonels") in Greece in 1967. Sophie and Nick are a young couple--unmarried and politically committed--when the military takes over Greece in April 1967. Chaos is the order of the day, as protestors are tear-gassed or picked up for interrogation and torture by the police. Sophie lives with Eleni, her widowed mother; Mihalis, a beloved uncle intermittently estranged from his wife; Anna, her younger sister; and Taki, her brother. Eleni is a physician, now called upon to heal those injured in street confrontations, and Mihalis, a poet, is sympathetic to the demonstrators, in part because of his past involvement in the Greek resistance against the Nazis. Eventually, the political situation becomes too volatile for Sophie, so she emigrates to Paris, becoming a student and working on her doctorate on the works of the Greek poet George Seferis (whose 1971 funeral Bakopoulos memorably depicts). Taki is likewise disgusted with the oppressive regime, so he emigrates to the United States, making a home in Michigan. Anna stays in Athens but begins a torrid affair with a married university professor. Although Anna becomes more preoccupied with her personal situation than with the politics of the time, Sophie--who in Paris takes up with Loukas, a cousin of her former boyfriend--follows Greek politics closely and, after six years, returns home, pregnant and ready to begin a new life. Because Bakopoulos has meticulously researched the period, Athens effectively becomes a character as real as the family she lovingly delineates, and her street scenes disclose the scorching reality of persecution and maltreatment in this sordid time.
Time Out Chicago

“An astute accounting of the way political climates shift inner lives.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Natalie Bakopoulos, in her sharp debut novel . . . [explores] the ways oppression clarifies and complicates desire, either binding our emotional and political selves or snapping them in two.”
Mark Athitakis
The Detroit News

“A tour de force”
The Lansing City Pulse

“The writing is lush, tinged with sexual longing and fear and with dreams that are interrupted.”
The Oregonian

“Bakopoulos weaves a most intriguing tale, a braid of the personal and political, with deftly complicated characters that we come to care for, and hope for, deeply.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Natalie Bakopoulos, in her sharp debut novel . . . [explores] the ways oppression clarifies and complicates desire, either binding our emotional and political selves or snapping them in two.
Mark Athitakis
Shepherd Express
The Green Shore is an extremely compelling, deeply personal tale . . . this searing literary accomplishment renders clear a monumental episode in our world history through the very intimate portrait of one family.
Jenni Herrick
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451633924
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Natalie Bakopoulos holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan, where she now teaches. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Ninth Letter, Granta.com, Salon.com, The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review, and has received an O. Henry Award, a Hopwood Award, and the Platsis Prize for Work in the Greek Legacy. She is a contributing editor for the online journal Fiction Writers Review. The Green Shore is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    The reader becomes totally involved in the life of this family d

    The reader becomes totally involved in the life of this family during the military junta rule. I lived in Athens from 1970-73 but left just at the time the students began to revolt in '73. I would like to read more of this author's work. She has inspired me to read some of her resources.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    ENJOYABLE READ

    I liked this book, especially because I learned some Greek history. The characters are all really believable and I felt like I lived among them. Would like to read more from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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