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Zigzag Through the Bitter-Orange Trees Hardcover – October 30, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Interlink Pub Group Inc (October 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566566614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566566612
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,271,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the heart of this darkly comic story told in four quirky voices is a young woman named Lia, who lies dying in a contemporary Athens hospital that's surrounded by bitter orange trees; the fruit falls and rots as she wastes away. Two lonely men frequent her room: a sadistic male nurse named Sotiris, and Lia's misanthropic younger brother, Sid. Lia imparts to Sid snippets of possibly fictitious family history and asks him to punish Sotiris for tormenting her. Socially inept Sid conceives and carries out an elaborate payback scam, but as a result becomes entangled with Sotiris and his family. The fourth voice is that of a child named Nina, who loses her innocence but none of her determination in an encounter with Sotiris. Increasingly intricate parallels and connections among the characters become political, cultural, outrageous and, ultimately, hopeful. Despite a few disappointing passages of hackneyed realism (a telemarketer with a phonetically rendered Chinese accent, for instance), the story, aided by Green's fluid translation, moves quickly. Sotiropoulos describes shame and alienation so effectively that the narration feels voyeuristic—in a good way. (Nov.)
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"Sotiropoulos is one of the most challenging, uncompromising, and original novelists writing today." -- Stratis Haviaras

"What a pleasure to have Ersi Sotiropoulos in English at last. Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees is vibrant and tart and a delight to read." -- Lynn Freed

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W. Mays on February 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this novel to all readers, not just to other Greeks. It is a "small" story. Lia is dying and complains to her brother Sid about the nurse Sotiris. Their lives intersect with the orphan Julia, the journal-writer Nina, and a talking mynah bird. The language is quite poetic, and the stories are funny as well as sad. The characters live lonely disconnected lives, but the writer treats them with great dignity. Most Greek books immerse the reader in "Greekness" (food, custom, language, etc.). Although you'll find plenty of ouzo and kalimaria in this book, it focuses on the thoughts of the people. Even so, it made me want to go to Athens, because that is where these people live. Also, I think this book sheds new light upon the relationship between modern secular Athens, where most people live, and the villages where the people have roots and family. I found a You Tube video of the writer reading some of her work. This is a modern Greek writer, working at a world class level, and I encourage support for the work
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