Currently Reading: My Last Lament by James William Brown

31159213Since it does take me some time to get through books, I figured I’d try to start posting updates about what I think about what I’m currently reading. I am also reading A Free Life by Ha Jin, but I will finish that pretty soon, and I want to save all my thoughts for a full review, so look out for that!

However, I think it’ll take me a little longer to finish My Last Lament, though not due to lack of interest and enjoyment of the story! My Last Lament tells the story of Aliki, who is now an old woman living in her small home village in Greece. She is a lamenter, one who tells the stories of the dead at a funeral or memorial service. After an American researcher comes knocking, and leaves Aliki with a few tapes and a recorder, she decides to begin to tell her own story, for once. We are drawn back to her girlhood during the German occupation of Greece during WWII. I have found this extended flashback really interesting and educational, since I have never learned anything about Greece during WWII. It was always left out of any education I have had on the subject, and so I’d never really thought of it as part of the conflict (how naïve and ignorant of me). I’ve learned a lot of information about the German occupation of Greece, and the fate of the many Greek jews who inhabited the mainland and various islands of the country.

Aliki’s tales of her childhood are at times heartbreaking, inspiring, horrific and confusing, for both the reader and herself. There are many secrets from her past that have been left unanswered, and as Aliki contemplates her life further, she begins to unravel elements that were mysterious to her then, and learn more about her younger self. Brown’s writing has been easy to read and understand, while conveying deep and intense emotions and creating a beautiful scene for the reader to enjoy. Whenever I read this book, I can’t help but imagine the vivid landscape the story takes place within. I am excited to continue reading this book, and see what other stories Aliki has waiting for us.

I hope this little blurb has been somewhat entertaining, and so far, I would definitely encourage anyone to pick up a copy of this book, which came out about a month ago! Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this novel. I am thoroughly enjoying it!

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