Irena Karafilly’s Compelling Novel, Arrested Song

Historical fiction often highlights historic events and characters in a dynamic way, allowing readers to experience the past through the characters and the choices they make in the course of their journey through the book. Arrested Song by Irena Karafilly brings history to life with strong characters, detailed descriptions, and a compelling plot in this page-turner which opens in a village on the Greek island of Lesvos during World War II.

According to the book’s description: “Calliope Adham – young, strong-willed, and recently widowed – is schoolmistress in the village of Molyvos when Hitler’s army invades Greece in 1941. Well-read and linguistically gifted, she is recruited by the Germans to act as their liaison officer. It is the beginning of a personal and national saga that will last for several decades.”

“Calliope’s wartime duties bring her into close contact with Lieutenant Lorenz Umbreit, the Wehrmacht commander,” the description continues. “The schoolmistress is an active member of the Greek Resistance, yet her friendship with the German blossoms against all odds, in a fishing village seething with dread and suspicion. Amid privation and death, the villagers’ hostility finally erupts, but the bond between Calliope and Umbreit survives, taking unforeseeable turns as Greece is ravaged by civil war and oppressed by military dictatorship. It is against this turbulent background that Calliope emerges as a champion for girls’ and women’s rights.”

Arrested Song is a haunting novel that weaves together the threads of its characters’ lives with the dramatic history of the time period for a vivid tapestry of Greek island life. Spanning over three decades, the novel recounts the extraordinary story of a woman and her lifelong struggle against social and political tyranny.

Renowned author Louis de Bernieres, perhaps best known for his 1994 historical novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, also set on a Greek island, in this case Kefalonia, during WWII, said of Karafilly’s Arrested Song: “I enjoyed this book immensely. Karafilly succeeds brilliantly where I had decided not to even try. A very accomplished novel.”

Karafilly is an award-winning Canadian author who lived in Mytilene for the better part of a decade. She told The National Herald that the novel was recently released in London and is available in the U.S. in paperback from Abe Books and in audiobook form.

According to her biography, “while still an undergraduate, Karafilly sold a short story to Bob Weaver at the CBC and has ever since been trying to write an international bestseller so she could devote herself full time to her writing.”

She has won several literary prizes, including the National Magazine Award and the CBC Literary Award. Her short stories have been published in both commercial and literary magazines in Canada and abroad. The author of seven books (five in English and two in Greek), Karafilly has also written book reviews and other articles which have appeared in various newspapers, including the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. She currently divides her time between Canada and Greece.

For more information visit: https://irenakarafilly.com.

It should be noted that Arrested Song by Irena Karafilly is available online and will be more widely available in the U.S. in early September.


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