Hardcover: 419 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T); 1st edition (October 1989)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
Gage was nine in 1949 when he and three sisters set sail from Greece for the U.S. Their mother had just been murdered by Greek communists who tried forcibly to conscript the family into guerrilla training. In Worcester, Mass., the children met their immigrant father Christos Gatzoyiannis, separated for years from the clan. Expecting a tycoon, they found instead an out-of-work short-order cook, a proud, touchy, gruff autocrat whom Gage, resentfully, blamed for not getting the family out of Greece sooner. A fourth sister joined them three months later. The story of Gage's reconciliation with his father is the keynote of this wonderfully vivid autobiographical sequel to Eleni. Full of humorous, ironic, sad touches, this extraordinary, moving saga reflects one family's attempt to balance assimilation with the preservation of Old-World traditions. Halfway to becoming a petty teenaged hood, the author pulled himself together and became instead a distinguished journalist who returned to Greece in an effort to trace his mother's killers (as told in Eleni ).
Seldom has the immigrant experience been captured more emotionally than in this memoir. The "place" is America, and the "us" is the family of author Gage, who in March 1949 sailed for freedom with three of his sisters from a Greece riddled with civil war to be reunited with their father in Worcester, Massachusetts, where the family joined a large Greek contingent. Gage's story is moving and humorous, a tale of adjustment to an unknown culture, and is best characterized by a love which transcends not only the Atlantic but years of strife and trying assimilation. The narrative is excellent. Gage is a former New York Times reporter whose earlier successes include Eleni ( LJ 6/15/83), the touching story of the murder of his mother by Greek communists. The author approaches, if not exceeds, his earlier effort: this is one of the year's best books. It should be widely read; it crystallizes our sense of liberty.
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