Fiction James William Brown Blood Dance

ISBN 13: 9780151132140

Blood Dance

3.62 avg rating
( 8 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780151132140: Blood Dance

A Scandinavian tourist visiting a small, often-overlooked Greek island encounters a community bound by religion, ritual, and superstition, and everyone involved is transformed by the experience. A first novel.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A wonderfully written first novel that loses steam halfway through and becomes a mere showcase for stylish atmospherics and craft. Author Brown takes a Greek island so small that it's ignored by all during WW II and makes it the setting not only for a story of passion, the past, and the invincible grip that a small community has on the individual, but a place where pagan beliefs still survive. Telling his story in a variety of voices--a technique that, here, makes the second half somewhat repetitive--he begins and ends with a commentary from the Women and Men, respectively. Like a traditional chorus, they set the scene, hint at what's to come, and provide the concluding wrap-up. Another voice is that of Katina, a refugee from Turkish oppression who came to the island as an archeologist and stayed to marry Grigoris, the last of a noble family. She describes her life as a young wife, widow, and mother of the beautiful and independent Amalia, whose friendship with a Scandinavian tourist precipitates the defining crisis. Like the tourist, Katina has never been accepted by the villagers, who resent strangers and jealously preserve the old ways and customs, some of which date back to pagan times. Nikos, Amalia's island suitor and husband-to-be, takes up the story, adding little except his version of what has come before, followed by Amalia herself, who offers a few snippets of her own, including her reasons for marrying Nikos--the transcending one being her belief ``that love will come as a reward for waiting'' for enduring the losses of her father, her secret lover, and the Scandinavian who promised to take her away with him. Too much a would-be portentous drama, beautifully staged but drained of the vitality that it seemed to promise. Despite suggestive echoes, not another Zorba the Greek. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this accomplished and appealing first novel, an American writer brings to life the inhabitants of a small Greek island to which a mysterious young woman with a tragic background comes to live and work as an archaeologist in the early 1930s. Her subsequent marriage to one of the island's merchants is the starting point for an ingenious tale of passionate, tradition- and superstition-bound islanders clashing with more sophisticated outsiders. It is narrated from five different points of view: those of the women of the village; the archeologist Katina; her daughter Amalia; the man who loves Amalia, and the village men. Each offers his or her version of events set in motion years after Katina's arrival by another visitor, a handsome young man from northern Europe. Brown is a first-rate stylist with a flair for descriptive detail; his depictions of the Greek-Turkish War and the sack of Smyrna in 1922 are vivid and resonant. Marred only slightly by some patronizing comments about the narrow-mindedness of peasants and the horrors of U.S. foreign aid, his elegant narrative captures the individual intensity of people trying to lead unfettered lives in a tightly knit community immersed in ancient legacies bequeathed by a violent history.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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