Achilles' Fiancee

The book I will talk about is  “Achilles Fiancee” of Alki Zei, in Greek “Η αρραβωνιαστικια του Αχιλλεα”.
The main scene of the plot is Paris, accompanied of flashbacks in the years after the military coup in Greece the year 1967.
In Paris the protagonist, Eleni works as an extra in a film production of the “Horror Train”. There the screams of the actors and the director bring her back in time, when she was a political fellow, when she was a part of the guerrilla.

The first time she was in a train was when she got to know, in a young age, the guerrilla leader Achilles. There names are only codenames, nobody has to know the real one.
So that they do not have any problem on the streets as they distribute notes. Eleni is called the Fiancee of Achilles and she is called like that even after they get married and have a child. That is also the reason for the title of the book.
In the process of the book, Eleni gets captured in a demonstration against the German occupiers. After a time in prison, waiting for her death sentence, as she gets free Athens is not anymore a place for her to live.
A friendship with her is dangerous for the people around her and she goes to exile.
Firstly she lives a time in Rome, waiting for (something like) a Visa to go to the Soviet Union to Achillea, but there she falls in love. She gets to know a feeling she never had with Achilles but lets it fall as she has the possibility to go to the man who determines her whole life. She stays in Tashkent until the communists there start to fight each other.
Then she goes to Paris with her daughter, meanwhile Achilles gets captured.

As the story goes on there is a change in Eleni, she gets more autonomous. Firstly she is totally blinded by the organization and before everything else Achilles, his word is her law, then as she is looking for love in the hearts of other people she goes on a distance to Achilles, from whom she does not feel any emotion and starts to review everything she was told and her relationships. At the end the only emotional bond she has with the movement are some of her best friends from this time who are also in Paris for exile.

Something interesting about the story, expect the plot, which is much more complicated and deeper that what I told you, is the inspiration for the book of the author, her own life.
Alki Zei is a Greek novelist which has written a lot of books for children but who had for sure a life full of adventures, removals, exiles and forced displacement.
In the years of the German occupation in the Second World War she fought for freedom, social justice and democracy in the leftwing movement. She was 1954 to 1964 a political refugee in the Soviet Union and then 1967 in Paris, chased away by the dictatorship.
In how the critical attitude in the book to the surroundings shows of her own real feelings is not something I know but maybe you will find it out by reading the book.

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