I decided to buy a couple of Chrysiida Dimoulidou’s books, because I had heard really good things about the author and I wanted to find out whether she was as good as everyone said. Having read three of her books, I can say that she is now one of my favorite authors.Title: The Tears of God
Original Title: Τα Δάκρυα του Θεού
Author: Cheyaiida Dimoulidou’s
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult
Summary: They say that God weeps every time he sees us whores. He weeps in shame, since we have none left. But if God weeps, then Death owes us!
It is the 1950s. Over the wounds of a Greece that is still bleeding from the war, in neighborhood in Piraeus, the famous Troumpa, among the smoke of hand-rolled cigarettes and cheap alcohol, love leaves on the bodies of women its frayed dreams and a hope that life is magical and beautiful. Day and night prostitutes stroll the narrow streets selling their bodies for very little money. A few steps farther their supposed protectors lurk like vultures ready to snatch their prey, selling them promises of a better future made of glitter and angels. Each of these women has a different story to tell, that might have begun from a rich house or even a marriage, an engagement, a great love. I was one of these women myself, going by the name of Madame Jeny, I started as a simple prostitute and ended up owning the most famous brothel in Troumpa.
No, life has not been easy for me. There have been no easy paths to follow. One night of my life was your entire life… This night I will tell you. Now, in my eighties, and for many years, I have been Eugenia Frankou, a respectable woman, who is highly regarded by her family and social circle. Nobody has ever learned who I really was. Why am I doing this now? Because to me Death has yet to repay his debt…
I have to admit that I’d had my doubts whether or not I would have enough time last night to finish this book. But I had no other choice. I simply had to get to the end of the story. I had to know what happened. This is something that is characteristic of Chrysiida Dimoulidou’s books and it was true even for Guess Who’s Leaving Tonight, which I didn’t like as much.
The book follows a more linear narration this time and I have to say that I liked it much better, because it was easier to follow. I do understand, though, that a different kind of narration fits best in every book, for example, the leapfrogging through time was perfect for Demons Don’t Have Names. Narrative aside, the writing was just as awesome as it was in Demons Don’t Have Names.
The book was essentially about Eugenia Frankou, a girl who started her life as a very poor young girl that then became a famous prostitute and ended up being a very wealthy woman, who is now sharing her story with us. What I liked about this particular book was that you got to look the world from the perspective of a prostitute. And I really do think that it is important for people to try and see things out of the perspective of minorities or people like Madam Jeny. Prostitutes are a group of people who have all been branded with a label of immorality and shamelesness, but are they truly as different than the rest of the people in this world? I don’t know about you, but if I were to sell my body every night so that other people could use it and then discard it with no thought for my own feelings, I would feel horrible and, yes, used. I don’t believe that there are many people who would actually enjoy it. And that is why I thought it was so interesting that I was able to read about the reasons that may lead someone to prostitution.
Also, just like in her latest book Demons Don’t Have Names, you get to learn a little bit more about the Greece of the 20th century. However, this time the first half of the story takes place in Athens instead of a small village in the middle of nowhere, so you get to experience the events of WWII and everything that happened after that (the Civil War, the dictatorship, the Athens Polytechnic School Uprising of 1973, etc). Although I don’t really enjoy reading books that are set solely during WWI or WWII, I liked this one, because it didn’t focus on what happened during WWII (the war wasn’t the main event) but it was set during that time and later and the plot was definitely affected by it.
And now that I mentioned the plot, let me tell you about the ending. OMG that ending. I remember that I was reading the last 100 or so pages and I was sobbing. I’m talking ugly sobbing. I was crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe and, when I could breathe, I couldn’t read because of the tears. I was a mess and I am going to be honest with you… that was one of the best endings that I have read in a long while. The author twisted it in such a way that I loved it 150%. The catharsis and the message of hope and optimism that are passed and most of all the moral, made it just perfect.
I could keep going, but I think whatever else I would have to say, I have already said it in my review of Demons Don’t Have Names. Go ahead and read it, if you haven’t.
(And yes, I know, this is not a shorter than usual review. I think I’m failing in my attempt at shortening my reviews. It’s still just a thought, though. Nothing is certain.)
About the author:
Chrysiida Dimoulidou was born and brought up in Serres (Northeastern Greece). She has worked as a flight assistant and journalist. In 1997 she published her first book and since then she has written 30 novels in total as well as some children’s books. All of her books were best-sellers. She lives to write as she says and she has won and been nominated for several awards during the years. One of her books has been translated in English, another in Portuguese and Czech, and a third one is currently being translated in Turkish. She has taken script writing classes, has attended seminars about philosophy and she has just written her first two plays. As a person she is approachable and very social, she has traveled all over the world, and she loves reading and research. She is an environmentalist and loves animals, and she believes that our children are our only hope for a peaceful future, provided that they are nurtured properly.
Now it’s your turn…
Did you like this review? Would you like to read it? What are your favorite books about people who belong in minority groups? Are you interested in more reviews of Greek books?