Read The World — The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou
Blurb from goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
From a major new Greek writer, never before translated-a wide-ranging, muck-raking, beautifully written novel about the unsolved murder of an American journalist in Greece in the forties
In 1948, the body of an American journalist is found floating in the bay off Thessaloniki. A Greek journalist is tried and convicted for the murder . . . but when he’s released twelve years later, he claims his confession was the result of torture.
Flash forward to modern day Greece, where a young, disaffected high school student is given an assignment for a school project: find the truth.
Based on the real story of famed CBS reporter George Polk-journalism’s prestigious Polk Awards were named after him-who was investigating embezzlement of U.S. aid by the right-wing Greek government, Nikolaidou’s novel is a sweeping saga that brings together the Greece of the post-war period with the current era, where the country finds itself facing turbulent political times once again.
Told by key players in the story-the dashing journalist’s Greek widow; the mother and sisters of the convicted man; the brutal Thessaloniki Chief of Police; a U.S. Foreign Office investigator-it is the modern-day student who is most affecting of them all, as he questions truth, justice and sacrifice . . . and how the past is always with us.
My Review Quote: “Grandma calls it the Socratic Method. She considers it the highest pedagogical technique. I call it cornering a person. Instead of just telling you what I want you to know, I ambush you with questions. You try to escape, but you can’t. You can run whichever way you like, but in the end you’ll fall right into my trap.” This book taught me some history from Greece.
Welcome to my journey around the world through books, today we are visiting country number 61 Greece with the book The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou
Someone is made a scapegoat in the novel, set in 1948 when a reporter was found murdered, so what is a scapegoat you might ask. The dictionary says it is a who is for something that someone has done.
This is not your classic murder mystery, as I first thought it would be, it is set in 1948 when the murder does actually take place, and 2010–2011, when a new investigation takes place, but not a police investigation, a high school student is asked to write a paper as part of his finals because he doesn’t want to do his final exams.
This novel is based on real events of famed CBS reporter George Polk after he was murdered and another reporter was accused and convicted, even though the names were changed for this book which also added to my initial confusion.
It jumps from one timeline to another and the story revolves around many other people also. There are many characters, most from real life surrounding the murdered man: mother, sisters, grandmothers, wife, all who have their moment in the book. The past section also has many political moments. I found it to be complicated.
You get to know the main characters through other characters. I found this to be confusing and I didn’t enjoy this style of writing. I found I didn’t connect with any of the main characters or even the secondary characters due to this.
I was expecting to read the investigation from the high school student but the author skipped that part, I was expecting a conclusion, which didn’t happen,
It is not only about the murder and politics, but the politics of the way students are schooled, as the high school student demonstrates with his actions.
I am giving this book 2 stars
The next country in the read the world series is Myanmar / Burma
Originally published at http://readinginecuador.wordpress.com on January 31, 2022.