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The Harpoon Gun : Two novels and Thirteen Stories about Greeks in Exile : A Triptych by Vassilis Vassilikos ; Translated by Barbara Bray

The Harpoon Gun : Two novels and Thirteen Stories about Greeks in Exile : A Triptych by Vassilis Vassilikos ; Translated by Barbara Bray


New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973. First American Edition. Hardcover. 246 pages ; 22 cm. $6.95 dust jacket. Gently used book, in very good condition with firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.


In this new work, the author of Z, employing a diversity of viewpoints, dramatizes the life of Greeks in exile from the present regime of the colonels. The Harpoon Gun is in effect a kind of triptych, unified by the moving and powerful theme of a Latter-day diaspora.

The book begins with a miniature suspense novel about members of the Greek Resistance who, emulating the Tupamaros of Uruguay, engineer the kidnapping of certain political prisoners. It ends with "Self-Slaughter," an enigmatic tale that deals with what is becoming, in our time, increasingly common: political murder disguised as suicide. In this instance the victim is a Greek political figure who has fled to northern Europe. The heart of the book, "The Wandering Salesman and Others," is itself a succession of stories that in their economy, compassion, and wry humor may remind the reader of Chekhov. They constitute, in sum, a human comedy of exile, sometimes satirical, sometimes touching, poignantly pierced by homesickness.

Here, then, is a remarkably rich, variegated, and graphic picture of uprooted men and women who for the most part, in an effort to survive, gallantly surmount the pain and difficulty of their diminished lives. The Harpoon Gun is the most substantial work of fiction yet written by Vassilis Vassilikos.

VASSILIS VASSILIKOS who was born in Kavala, Greece, in 1933, has published in his own tongue some twenty prose works as well as a half-dozen selections of poetry. Earlier books of his to appear in the United States include The Plant, the Well, the Angel, which has been translated into sixteen languages; TVie Photographs, translated into ten; and Z, translated into thirty-two and made into the brilliant motion picture of the same title. The Harpoon Gun is being published here simultaneously with Outside the Walls, a study of Greek society in the decade preceding the colonels' coup, the first work of real-life commentary by this distinguished author to appear in the United States.

As the recipient of a Ford Foundation grant, Vassilikos traveled throughout the United States in 1959. Since 1967 he has himself been an exile from his native land, dividing his time between Paris and Rome.

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