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Diana Cooper by Philip Ziegler
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Diana Cooper

by Philip Ziegler

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The Australian author, David Martin, wrote this novel in 1962. It deals with Greek Australians living in the new country of Australia. Yanni is a Greek Cypriot with a fruit shop in Melbourne. He is full of new idealism – socialism and trade unionism – and rejects the stifling old customs and religion of his blind mother and successful older brother. However, he does allow his mother to bring out a bride for him from their village in Cyprus. Anna is a beautiful young woman, naive and only familiar with her village life, although that life has been shattered by the civil war still raging in Cyprus between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Onboard the bride ship that docks in Melbourne, as the opening scene of the novel, is Criton, a young artist escaping the civil war in Cyprus and a terrible memory of being forced into an act of terrorism. Criton becomes involved with the family and falls in love with the young Anna. He is also singled out by the Greek community for daring to play soccer with an Italian-based team in the local football competition. Criton is portrayed as the new Australian: he works with his hands in the bush, buys land in what will become the outer suburbs of Melbourne, and befriends an Italian communist living with an Australian mother of three. Yanni, while wanting to be part of the new Australia, can't break free of the traditions and expectations that bind him to his blind, dying mother and the money and success of his businessman brother. Into the mix the author introduces an academic and his wife who see the Greeks as a link to the classical Greece culture they crave. Their involvement is used as the catalyst that creates the tragic final scenes to this wonderful Australian novel.
  GregMartin | Apr 28, 2014 |
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