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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Xmas Reading - Archipelago of Souls, a novel of an Anzac on Crete in WW2

Here is a good book for all those Phil-Hellenes thinking of a present for Xmas - Archipelago of Souls by Gregory Day, $27.99
Nick Andriotakis writes:
"Gregory  Day is an award winning  novelist, poet and musician  based in Victoria. He  traveled to Crete when he was 21 and  was impressed by the philoxenia  (hospitality) given to him by the Cretan people and more so because he was an Australian . They continually  talked to him about the  Battle of Crete and the role of the Anzacs and this left on him a burning impression  and a desire that one day he  must write  a novel on this story. About  twenty  years later, his new  novel is  Archipelago of souls is the  result of this long standing dream and  has just come out."
The story unites an Australian Island - King Island and the Bass Strait - with the Island of Crete, through the story of a digger, Wes Cress, who takes part in the battle of Crete, is left behind and fights with the Cretan resistance. As an article in the Sydney Morning Herald states:
"Who can unite these very different places? An Australian soldier in World War II, Wesley Cress, who finds himself left behind in Crete after the Germans have invaded and Allied troops have evacuated. At the end of the war, a hero of the resistance, he returns to King Island to lick his psychological wounds and feel his way cautiously towards love and redemption."

To read an article from the Syndey Morning Herald, please click here
Readings Bookshop have published a piece written by Gregory on his book:
"It might these days be fashionable to say it but nevertheless the seeds of all of my books have begun in walking. The trigger for my new novel Archipelago of Souls lies in a pretty arduous but wonderful walk I took around the island of Crete back when I was still at university. My eyes were opened in many ways during those days, not only to the sea-lit slopes and valleys of the classical world of Minoan and Homeric myth, but also to the more recent events that occured on the island when Australians fought alongside the Cretans, and the Kiwis and British, in the Second World War.
It’s taken me years to find a way but I knew back then that the idea of a relatively raw young Australian man being thrown into such a historically layered yet awful situation, was something I would write about. I’ve made constant sketches since, scribbling down many notes on the different yet strangely similair landscapes of the Mediterranean and where I live on the southwest coast of Victoria, and comparing the young myth-seeking culture of Australia with the ancient myth-bound society of Crete. What happened back in 1941 when these two cultures intersected in such dramatic circumstances? I wondered. What happened on the inside?
A soldier returning from war is one of the oldest story-tropes on earth. I think of The Odyssey as an ancient example but I wanted to express a new iteration of the theme, which juxtaposed that classical world with the reality of a grounded Australian perspective. We don’t romanticise Greece like they do at Oxford and Cambridge, or if we do, we do it in a different way. When Australians suddenly found themselves fighting a war in the birthplace of western myth their reactions were varied but predominantly they were visceral, realistic and life changing. That’s why they got on well with the locals on Crete and it’s also one of the reasons why post-war immigration to Australia from Greece has been so influential and successful.
With my central character returning to live on King Island, Archipelago of Souls is also a continuation of the exploring of my home coastal landscapes of Bass Strait, which really are the overiding creative force of my work, not only in my three Mangowak novels, The Patron Saint Of Eels, Ron McCoy’s Sea Of Diamonds, and The Grand Hotel, but in my music and poetry as well. The sky here for me is a proscenium arch, the world a natural theatre. For mysterious reasons stories come alive for me here and the scenes in the book on King Island, and around the lakes near Colac and the cove of Lorne, are indicative of that I hope."

The book sells for $27.99 at Readings.

Thanks to Nick Andriotakis for this story.

Jim Claven
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

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