cover image The Greek Wall

The Greek Wall

Nicolas Verdan, trans. from the French by W. Donald Wilson. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (276p) ISBN 978-1-908524-85-0

A political debate familiar to American readers undergirds Swiss author Verdan’s stellar U.S. debut. In 2010, the Greeks are considering building a wall on the border with Turkey, a government project with “both practical and symbolic value, being intended simultaneously to discourage illegal immigration and to send the message that Greece could not be entered at will.” Euros from Brussels are required for its construction, and the discovery of a headless male corpse near the border threatens to imperil the plan. Given the high stakes, the Greek leaders want Evangelos, the agent of the National Intelligence Service investigating the murder, to act quietly and identify the victim as soon as possible. Evangelos, a new grandfather who considers the truth sacred, pursues the few leads doggedly, wherever they might lead. Verdan effectively uses a less-than-omniscient third-person narrator (“But is that really the history of [Evangelos’s] family? His own family?”). The outcome will bring solace to those opposed to the construction of border walls. (Feb.)