New White Sandals: A Memoir by Toula Siakotos

Moving on from monsters to something quite different, New White Sandals is more like a painting than an actual novel. The conversational style, together with diary-like passages, does not build up to suspenseful, page-turning climaxes, nor does it challenge the reader with difficult questions about existence and/or morality. Instead, it presents a painting, which can then be appreciated by the reader on whatever level that most suits him or her. The many characters are skilfully presented but are loosely drawn, and, perhaps because of the relative shortness of the book and/or because of the number of characters introduced, none of them - with, perhaps, the exception of Toula Siakotos herself - really stand out. However, I do not feel that this is negative; in fact, given the painterly nature of the book, I feel that it actually works quite well. The book is easy to read, and it gives a lot of incidental information about what it must have been like, living in a small village in Greece during the 1940s and 1950s. Worth reading.

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