Blood Dance

James William Brown, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $22.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-15-113214-0
In this accomplished and appealing first novel, an American writer brings to life the inhabitants of a small Greek island to which a mysterious young woman with a tragic background comes to live and work as an archaeologist in the early 1930s. Her subsequent marriage to one of the island's merchants is the starting point for an ingenious tale of passionate, tradition- and superstition-bound islanders clashing with more sophisticated outsiders. It is narrated from five different points of view: those of the women of the village; the archeologist Katina; her daughter Amalia; the man who loves Amalia, and the village men. Each offers his or her version of events set in motion years after Katina's arrival by another visitor, a handsome young man from northern Europe. Brown is a first-rate stylist with a flair for descriptive detail; his depictions of the Greek-Turkish War and the sack of Smyrna in 1922 are vivid and resonant. Marred only slightly by some patronizing comments about the narrow-mindedness of peasants and the horrors of U.S. foreign aid, his elegant narrative captures the individual intensity of people trying to lead unfettered lives in a tightly knit community immersed in ancient legacies bequeathed by a violent history. ( Apr. )
Reviewed on: 03/29/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
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