Children during the Nazi occupation of Greece sample their first cigarettes; faceless characters suddenly acquire features in the course of dramatic events; painful family chronicles emerge; and erotic passion consumes both women and men. But Thanassis Valtinos’s rapid, staccato narrative in the unadorned language of the short stories that make up Nicotine Addiction is stripped of all sentimentality. Brief sentences and pithy observations are the keynote of his tales of love and death.
Self-denying love, ungovernable urges, and passion that can manifest itself at the most unsuitable moments, just as everything is about to end in destruction, are set against the backdrop of World War II and the difficulties and deprivations of everyday life.
The Balkan Wars, the Greek civil war, and the political-military events in Cyprus in 1974 may be embedded in the heroes’ awareness, but are never highlighted to serve ideological ends.
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