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The new Greeks

03 February 2010 / 14:02:07  GRReporter
4242 reads

Maria Spassova


A new book was presented to the market days before Christmas and became a bestseller in spite of the fact that it is written by a young Greek author (truly unknown!) and in spite of the fact that it is not a crime story, not a science fiction thriller, not a biography of a famous Hollywood actor, it does not teach the reader how to succeed in life in 10 steps. And nevertheless it has nothing in common with the genres “The new Greeks” by the author Petros Tatsopoulos was announced by the book stores chain Public to be the most often book sold in December.

With the discipline of a journalist rather than the literary lavishness the author creates a portrait of 21 Greeks and an Albanian girl who are in the center of the media’s attention and along with them to the entire Greek society in the beginning of the 21st century. The characters have been carefully chosen and even formed as couples of opposites. Among the characters there are politicians – right (the former chairmen of New democracy Miltiadis Evert) and left (the fading activist of the left party Maria Damanaki). There are spouses of politicians like Natasha Karamanli (an example of what the wife of a Prime Minister should be like) and like Demitra Papandreou (an example of what the wife a Prime Minister shouldn’t be like). The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the director Nikos Perakis his colleague the actor Laki Lazopoulos and an Albanian Savina Lios (the one who dared to answer on television the question if she is proud to be an Albanian by asking “of course, aren’t you proud to be Greeks?”) are among the chosen by Tatsopoulos characters, who create the portrait of the new Greeks of the 21st century.

“The new Greeks” impresses with its extraordinary respect of the author to the documentary and his passion of an experienced and studious reporter to ask many questions and offer the answers of expert and heroes and to respect the reader by leaving him the right to make his own conclusions. Otherwise the techniques are different for each portrait.

The blue Cinderella

The character of Natasha Karamanli has been presented in a dialog with the communication advisor of New Democracy Periklis Pilidis. With him Petros Tatsopoulos is looking for the answer of the question how authentic is the public image of the wife of the Greek Prime Minister or is it a result of the hard work of the image makers of the blue party. The author didn’t spare the blue Cinderella the fact that she totally represents the stereotype image of a first lady which in a way results in the famous British pessimism “too good to be true”. Her appearance amazingly resembles lady Diana, however the PR specialist says that “if it was up to her she would have appeared only in jeans and T-shirts, but we insisted that she dresses more elegantly”. Like all first ladies she does charity, she could be always seen with sick children, disabled people and drug addicts. As opposed to her “colleagues” on the other hand, before becoming a first lady she has spent many years over the books, she has made many researches and spent many hours in her doctor’s office with these same sick children, disabled people and drug addicts.

The author’s cream of the joke? A simple event on the streets of Rafina – as a teacher she stops and talks to few children playing outside. They gather around her and one of them exclaimed: “God, you look so much like Natasha Karamanli!”.


Among sharks and dolphins

Petros Tatsopoulos says that Dimitra Papandreou herself has chosen this title for the new film which an inspired by the faith director would make. And her destiny is really interesting, no matter if we like or not the blond widow of the founder of PASOK Andreas Papandreou. In order to present her to us, Tatsopoulos reviews her autobiographical book “10 years and 54 days”, which she publishes a year after the death of her famous husband. Because of its strong sentimental burden, at moments on the verge of garishness, the book is hard to read, however Tatsopoulos does it coolly and with the precision of a surgeon he separates the true facts from the fiction. In contrast to the common in Greece opinion that the relationship between Andreas and Dimitra is just a matter of unhinged sexual attraction, Tatsopoulos shows us that between them breaks out true love, which is fed not only in bed, but at all levels of communication between them. Without making us like her, he helps us to understand her.

Really what kind of turning points the destiny has prepared for a common girl who graduates from a classic high school where her marks are not very impressive and out of a flight attendant she becomes the wife of the Prime Minister. From being the most widely discussed woman in Greece, her pictures in Paris Hilton style were on the front pages of the Greek media for years, to complete oblivion as she is currently living. However Dimitra Papandreou does not pity herself. She believes her star will shine again.


Restless nights in the Constantinople neighborhood Fener             

Tags: New Greeks Petros Tatsopoulos Literature
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