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ITHACA Online
Judas’ Fires, Oedipus’ Ashes
 Rhea Galanaki

270pp.
Kastaniotis, 2009
ISBN: 978-960-03-4992-4

A young Jewish primary school teacher takes on a job in Crete. There she finds a society that still clings to tradition on the cusp of the 20th and 21st centuries. While in many places in Greece retain the custom of burning an effigy of Judas on a bonfire at Easter, ancient Cretan lore associates the Judas of Scripture with the ancient Greek legend of Oedipus. The heroine’s discoveries propel her on a journey toward self-knowledge, which will help her understand not only her family’s past but also her own individual identity. The author has played a leading role in reviving the historical novel in Greece. Judas’ Fires, Oedipus’ Ashesis her latest contribution to the genre. Balancing past and present in a tale of love, murder, fierce emotions and conflicts, she contrasts the vision of rebirth and modernisation with the weight of inertia and attachment to rigid, unshakeable values.


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