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The Green Shore Hardcover – June 5, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Bakopoulos has an enormous heart, and she is a writer to watch." (The Chicago Tribune)

“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 Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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 Shepherd Express)

“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.” (Elizabeth Kostova author of The Historian)

"Must List" (Entertainment Weekly)

"The writing is lush, tinged with sexual longing and fear and with dreams that are interrupted." (Lansing City Pulse)

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.” (Peter Ho Davies author of The Welsh Girl)

“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.” (Charles Baxter author of The Feast of Love)

“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.” (Eleni N. Gage author of Other Waters)

“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.” (Publishers Weekly)

“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.” (Booklist)

“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 New York Times Book Review)

About 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,,, 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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451633920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451633924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Natalie Bakopoulos received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan, where she now teaches. Her first novel, The Green Shore, which takes place in Athens and Paris between 1967 and 1973, was published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Ninth Letter, Salon, Granta, Glimmer Train, The Millions, The New York Times, and in other publications, as well as in the 2010 PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Her book reviews appear regularly in the San Francisco Chronicle. She's the recipient of fellowships from the Camargo Foundation, the Sozopol Fiction Seminars, and the MacDowell Colony. Most recently, she was named a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. McGowan on June 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos is a historical fiction novel that follows the effects of the military coup d'etat in 1967. While not a well-known historical movement, or at least one I didn't have knowledge of, it devastated much of Greece (mostly Athens) for many years. A coup d'etat is the sudden, illegal takeover of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment--typically the military--to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. Bakopoulos's novel follows the lives of one family and how this movement shaped their future.

She paints a very vivid picture of Greece, far different from the one that springs forth in my mind from movies such as Mama Mia' or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Those deliver only romantic notions of this country with white washed buildings and beautiful seaside views. While these are still a part of the country, The Green Shore gives the reader a more intimate relationship with Greece, and by choices of the characters, Paris, France. The two countries are juxtaposed against one another to illuminate not only the struggles, but the triumphs of a turbulent political climate.

***Small plot spoilers***

Bakopoulous's family in the novel centers on the lives of four major characters, of which the reader loves and hates. Sophie, the first major character the reader connects with, is a strong willed activist in love with a very wealthy leftist boyfriend. This relationship fizzles when Sophie must suddenly flee the country and it is with her departure I feel we, as the reader, really get to know who she is without the plight and passions of Greece thrust upon her.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Macarthur McBurney on June 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Just finished consuming this fascinating book, and now I'm savoring all that it stirs up: what is the right balance between private and public life, between loyalty to self and to family, or self and country, or self and ideal self? My philosophical side is sated, as is the romantic in me: warm, sultry greece and rainy, poignant paris, beautiful real characters, tingling sexual tension...aahhh. a good read.

(Mrs.) Macarthur McBurney
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NYCbyJC on August 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
this book is a must read for anyone who enjoys family, love, coming-of-age stories set against a real and dramatic historical backdrop. this book is set primarily during the junta's rule over Greece in the late 60s and early 70s- the very brutal military dictatorship of Greece for 7 years. the author does a great job incorporating elements of Greece's past leading up to the dictatorship which is necessary and adds to the story. this is the author's first novel and I was very impressed with how she developed each character- and there are quite a few. the language is beautiful and you really can picture the scenes in Greece, Paris and elsewhere. it is obvious that this author did her research and that she cares to provide accurate statements and reflections of this difficult period for Greece even though the book is a work of fiction. Through the family and their extended circle, the author shows "history" happening but also how each person makes "history" and how relevant an everyday person's actions can be. I got the sense that this author has been waiting her entire life to write this book and the love for the characters and subject matter shows. you don't have to be greek to understand and admire the effort. this book should be read by all who are moved by the stories of families and individuals loving, living through, and reacting to political turmoil in both human and heroic ways.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is deserving of the plaudits it has received. Bakopoulos is clearly a master of the written word and she shows it through this "circle-of-life" book of a Greek family during a time of national crisis. The so-called "colonel's junta" of 1967 imposed a tyranical government on Greece -- particularly galling since the country is often regarded as the birthplace of democracy. The coup's tentacles reached deep into Greek society and few people were unaffected. In "The Green Shore" a family with strong passions, not the least of them political, passes through the vicissitudes of life in the shadow of the obscene coup, which colors everything. Bakopoulos's characters are multi-dimensional and she brings just the right amount of conflict into each life. The book describes the familial diaspora of children leaving home, love requitted or not, intrigue, nostalgia and a searing period in the modern history of rambunctious Greece. Bakopoulos is a sensible writer, not given to unrealistic plot turns or hyperbole. The book unfolds at just the right pace. At its heart, it is simply the story of a family, but under the author's crystal-clear microscope, it is family most memorable. You won't soon forget these people and the world they lived in.
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By Stergiani on January 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It describes the life of people in Athens during the junta with the most human way and with a great sense of tendency...since I am from Greece I have read a lot of books regarding this time of history and I have to say that it was very interesting to read a book with this theme from another point of view..
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