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The Scapegoat: A Novel
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Melville House 2015
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Description
An engrossing and richly panoramic novel from a major new writer, based on a true story...
In 1948, the body of an American journalist is found floating in the bay off Thessaloniki. A small-time Greek journalist is tried and convicted for the murder...but when he's released twelve years later, he claims his confession was the result of torture.
Flash forward to contemporary Greece, where a rebellious young high school student is given an assignment for a school project: find the truth. And as he begrudgingly takes it on, he begins to make a startling series of gripping discoveries—about history, love, and even his own family's involvement.
Based on the real story of famed CBS reporter George Polk—journalism's prestigious Polk Awards were named after him—The Scapegoat is a sweeping saga that brings together the Greece of the post-World War II era with the Greece of today, a country facing dangerous times once again.
As told by key players in the story—the dashing journalist's Greek widow; the mother and sisters of the convicted man; the brutal Thessaloniki Chief of Police; a U.S. Foreign Office investigator, and, finally, the modern-day student, in the novel's most stirring narration of all—The Scapegoat confronts questions of truth, justice, and sacrifice...and how the past is always with us.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/03/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781612193854
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APA Citation (style guide)

Sophia Nikolaidou. (2015). The Scapegoat: A Novel. Melville House.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sophia Nikolaidou. 2015. The Scapegoat: A Novel. Melville House.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sophia Nikolaidou, The Scapegoat: A Novel. Melville House, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sophia Nikolaidou. The Scapegoat: A Novel. Melville House, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: SOFIA NIKOLAIDOU was born in Thessalonika in 1968. She teaches literature and creative writing and writes criticism for various newspapers, including Ta Nea. She has published two collections of short stories and three novels, all of which have been translated into eight languages. Her last novel, Tonight We Have Friends, won the 2011 Athens Prize for Literature, and The Scapegoat was shortlisted for the 2012 Greek State Prize for Fiction.

        KAREN EMMERICH's translations include Rien ne va plus by Margarita Karapanou, Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos, I'd Like by Amanda Michalopoulou, and Poems (1945-1971) by Miltos Sachtouris. She received the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for her translation, with Edmund Keeley, of Yannis Ritsos' Diaries of Exile.

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shortDescription
From a major new Greek writer, never before translated--a wide-ranging, muck-raking, beautifully written novel about the unsolved murder of an American journalist in Greece in the forties

In 1948, the body of an American journalist is found floating in the bay off Thessaloniki. A Greek journalist is tried and convicted for the murder . . . but when he's released twelve years later, he claims his confession was the result of torture.

Flash forward to modern day Greece, where a young, disaffected high school student is given an assignment for a school project: find the truth.

Based on the real story of famed CBS reporter George Polk--journalism's prestigious Polk Awards were named after him--who was investigating embezzlement of U.S. aid by the right-wing Greek government, Nikolaidou's novel is a sweeping saga that brings together the turbulent Greece of the post-war period with the current era, where the country finds itself facing turbulent political...
isOwnedByCollections
True
title
The Scapegoat
fullDescription
An engrossing and richly panoramic novel from a major new writer, based on a true story...
In 1948, the body of an American journalist is found floating in the bay off Thessaloniki. A small-time Greek journalist is tried and convicted for the murder...but when he's released twelve years later, he claims his confession was the result of torture.
Flash forward to contemporary Greece, where a rebellious young high school student is given an assignment for a school project: find the truth. And as he begrudgingly takes it on, he begins to make a startling series of gripping discoveries—about history, love, and even his own family's involvement.
Based on the real story of famed CBS reporter George Polk—journalism's prestigious Polk Awards were named after him—The Scapegoat is a sweeping saga that brings together the Greece of the post-World War II era with the Greece of today, a country facing dangerous times once again.
As told by key players in the story—the dashing journalist's Greek widow; the mother and sisters of the convicted man; the brutal Thessaloniki Chief of Police; a U.S. Foreign Office investigator, and, finally, the modern-day student, in the novel's most stirring narration of all—The Scapegoat confronts questions of truth, justice, and sacrifice...and how the past is always with us.
From the Hardcover edition.
sortTitle
Scapegoat A Novel
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Wall Street Journal
      • content: "Intriguing... Confronts uncomfortable questions about moral compromise during wartime...with verve and slangy energy."
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: "The picture of generations-old moral compromise in a Greece belittled by foreign interest cuts close to the bone."
      • premium: False
      • source: Huffington Post
      • content: "Timeless... The question of who's lying and who's telling the truth makes for a philosophical page-turner."
      • premium: False
      • source: Times Literary Supplement
      • content: "A bulging satchel of a book... Nikolaidou writes with wit and sympathy about family dynamics, high school teachers, students and teenage crushes, and with energy and verve about politics... Hope blows like a warm spring wind through the novel's final pages."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Literary Review
      • content: "Beautifully crafted...The Scapegoat is not so much a traditional murder mystery as ideas-driven history, and though the whodunnit is never really answered, finishing this excellent novel is still deeply satisfying."
      • premium: False
      • source: National Herald
      • content: "Enlightening and entertaining."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Bookbinder's Daughter
      • content: "A well-narrated and tragic story that teaches us that history is never as straightforward or black an white as the history books oftentimes make it seem."
      • premium: False
      • source: Cleaver Magazine
      • content: "An utterly compelling meditation on the nature of political truth, compromise, and justice and at the same time an evocative reflection on family dynamics and generational change. The symphony of voices...swells in the reader's imagination."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness
      • content: "Nikolaidou creates a compelling cast of characters... The varied perspectives of these characters create a snapshot of lives in turmoil in a place of deep history and even deeper conflict."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist
      • content: "Told from various perspectives, the narratives intertwine: Minas gropes his way toward adulthood, and readers are invited to grapple with messy questions of historical truth and moral ambiguity. In the end, this mixture of history and fiction is both sweet and unsettling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
      • content: "Intricate and suspenseful... While we follow Nikolaidou's deeply satisfying plot, she also slyly poses some of the large questions of contemporary life: how do we value the individual against the state? what causes are worth lying for? is justice ever done?"
      • premium: False
      • source: Ethnos
      • content: "The book, with strong writing and the well-orchestrated voices of its many characters, dares to suggest correlations with the current Greek crisis."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 10, 2014
        An ennui-addled high school student investigates a decades-old murder mystery in this funny, heartfelt, and intellectually potent novel, Greek novelist Nikolaidou’s first publication in the U.S. Alternating between the mid-20th century and the present day, and set largely in Thessaloniki, the story follows Minas Georgiou, a Hellenic Holden Caulfield who flouts the expectations of his family by refusing to take the country’s traditional year-end university entrance exams. Instead, he accepts an assignment from his teacher, Marinos Soukiouroglou, a former academic who “could bring an entire class to its knees with a single glance.” The assignment concerns the 1948 murder of an American journalist, Jack Talas, who was reporting on postwar tensions in Greece between communists and the right wing. Many believe the supposed culprit, Manolis Gris, was falsely convicted to appease Americans (and secure their continued aid). As Minas digs deeper, he finds surprising connections between Gris’s story and his own: Evelina Dinopoulou, a young woman he has a crush on, is the granddaughter of Gris’s lawyer; and Minas’s father, a newspaper editor, once tried his own hand at solving the case. Based on the real-life 1940 murder of journalist George Polk, the novel, featuring an array of colorful supporting characters, argues that history is less a streamlined narrative than a shifting kaleidoscope of perspectives—“riddled with qualifications, asterisks, interpretations, clashes of opinion.”

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2014
        Modeled on a real-life unsolved mystery, this is a complex story in which murder and politics in postwar Greece resurface to change the life of a bright teenage boy who's been going off the rails.Greek writer Nikolaidou's first work to be translated into English uses as its springboard a fictionalized version of a 20th-century cause celebre: the drowning of well-connected U.S. journalist George Polk, who was on the trail of government corruption and misappropriated aid in Greece in 1948. Under pressure to find a culprit, the police arrest and torture a journalist, Manolis Gris, forcing a confession from him which will result in a life sentence. Nikolaidou considers these events from the perspective of people at the time and others more than half a century later, notably that of Minas Georgiou. Minas' wily schoolmaster gave him the project of re-examining the Gris case after the boy's surprising announcement that he's not going to apply for a place at university. What emerges is a fragmentary story, assembled and enlarged by the voices and lives of surrounding, connected characters, notably female ones: sisters, wives and mothers. Gris' mother is a widow with four children to support, all of whose fortunes will be blighted by history. Minas' grandmother was once loved by Dinopoulos, the lawyer who represented Gris and plea-bargained for him, saving his life. Ultimately Minas' project doesn't solve the Gris enigma but does inspire the boy-who now finds himself in the midst of Greece's financial crisis-to return to his studies, newly alive to the recurrent hypocrisies of "ideas above lives, the country above its people."More context would have helped international readers understand the Greek civil war and the country's education system; without it, it's harder to appreciate this carefully orchestrated tale of political expediency.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2015

        This latest book from Athens Prize winner Nikolaidou (Tonight We Have Friends) is really two novels in one. The first story is based partly on the actual 1948 killing of American journalist George Polk (here called Jack Talas) during the bitter Greek civil war. The right-wing authorities convicted a local man of the murder, but he was widely thought to be a scapegoat. The second story is set in contemporary Thessaloniki, as bored high school senior Minas refuses to go to college, much to the distress of his parents. His teacher wisely assigns him the task of investigating the 1948 murder and trial as an intellectual challenge. The author does an outstanding job of weaving the two narrative strands, contrasting those grim times of the late 1940s (a civil war that most Americans know little about) with today's climate of financial crisis in Greece. The novel reads very smoothly in its English-language translation. Both stories are told from various viewpoints, with minor characters serving as a modern-day Greek chorus. VERDICT This gripping novel explores the themes of deceit, injustice, and the illusive search for truth while engaging the reader with a story about young people in Greece today.--Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2014
        Nikolaidou's first novel to be published in the U.S. uses a modern adolescent coming-of-age tale to explore a true-life murder mystery from the Greek civil war. Minas Georgiou is a bookish teen in a household in which education is everything, but he hates school and doesn't want to take his all-important college entrance exams. His stern but dedicated teacher Soukioroglou offers an alternative: a research paper on the 1948 murder of CBS journalist George Polk, who had accused Greek officials of graft and was subsequently pulled dead from the Aegean Sea. A young Greek journalist with ties to the Communist opposition confessed to the crime, apparently under torture, but the full story remains untold. Grudgingly at first, Minas immerses himself in the case. It also helps that the smart girl for whom he is falling is the granddaughter of the accused's attorney. Told from various perspectives, the narratives intertwine: Minas gropes his way toward adulthood, and readers are invited to grapple with messy questions of historical truth and moral ambiguity. In the end, this mixture of history and fiction is both sweet and unsettling.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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Melville House
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