Makarionissi or The Island of the Blessed
Vea Kaiser is a hugely talented young author who captivates readers with her sharp, witty writing.
This entertaining family saga spans almost sixty years, from 1956 to 2014. The novel begins and ends in Greece, with Greek history and tragedy always looming in the background. The novel revolves around two cousins, Lefti and Eleni, who are best friends from childhood. Their grandmother, a powerful matriarchal figure, is convinced that they should marry to preserve the family line in their dying mountain village. But Eleni is a stubborn child, and decides early on that she won’t be getting married at all. Eleni eventually winds up in prison for her outspoken leftist views, while the unpolitical Lefti finally marries her in a last-ditch effort to save her from a worse fate. The young couple leave the country and go to Germany, where they soon grow apart.
Full of anecdotes, stories and fairy-tales and suffused with human insight, the novel reminds us of the necessity of forgiveness and that, whether we want it or not, our families and their failings always catch up with us in the end.
‘Makarionissi is many-coloured, heart-breaking and simply wonderful.’ – Deutschlandradio
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Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch was founded in 1949 in Cologne by two publishers from the Eastern Zone, Gustav Kiepenheuer and Joseph Caspar Witsch. The press’s early authors included Joseph Roth, Heinrich Böll and Erich Maria Remarque. Today Kiepenheuer & Witsch continues to publish leading contemporary German, Austrian and Swiss writers, as well as international authors in translation. Its list includes Katja Lange-Müller, Peter Härtling, Uwe Timm, Gabriel García Márquez and John Banville. Its non-fiction subjects cover sociology, psychology, history and biography. Kiepenheuer & Witsch is part of the Holtzbrinck Group.
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