D. Lala Crist
... She command Maryo to go back into the past, witness her life, and bring back the secret of her life’s meaning. Thus-forced to visit a different region in time and space –she lunches on a journey to the old county, she observers in her mother family a microcosm of world; each family member represents a facet of human life: god and evil, savagery and sainthood, the poetic and prosaic ,physical and metaphysical, the scares and the profane. My womb, like Pandora’s box opened to fill the world", her grandmother exclaims with amazement. Maryo, a young woman, embarks on the journey into time. Her uncle, a partisan killed many years before, helps her on board nine weeks later the boat arrives in 1922 at the port Chios, opposite the shore of Asia Minor. It is the catastrophic time of the expulsion of the Greeks from Anatolia. Among the torment throng, she sees her father, a young soldier-younger than her own son-who is tying to his mother and sister to the boat for Piraeus, the port of Athens. She proceeds to encounter her mother her mother’s family, who heavily lie on the sand loaded with the pain of human violence and the great loss of homeland, sons and relatives. Anguishing over the tragic events of war and defeat, Maryo pushed herself further back to the good times at the beginning of the century, in her family’s village. There she witnesses the birth of her mother and all the events that made up the life of the Greeks living peacefully with the Turks on the shores of Anatolia, Dedicated to her promise to witnesses life as reality, she lived consciously the life of the past, at the same time probing her own unconscious. Though exploration of time and space, she touches upon the riddle of living. Age though knowledge and pain, she returns home to Athens the years before her birth to reveal the precious secret. Her mother a young women, too busy living life, neither acknowledge her, nor does she care to hear the definition of life. Maryo, exhausted, falls asleep by the stone wall of small refugee home to wake up as a living cell in mother’s velvet womb: Time a cloudy galloping white horse, fashioned her body and when time had finished, when it completed shaping her, a tender breeze arose. A single breath blew and created her soul" (the last line of the book). The novel has been describe by the Greek critics as: "Compelling…convincingly detailed…the language rhythms spellbinding…"; "A surprising mature and original novel…Characters and events came alive in its pages"; "Its powerful, intense style enriches our contemporary fiction." Despina Lala Crist who studied literature in the United States, says. "The American writes who have influenced my though and style are: Flannery O’Connor, with her fearless realism (she never flinches in piecing the secret of human nature), and Emily Dickson, with her ontological lyricism-her acknowledgement of death and her resistance to it. The Greek writer who has especially moved me is Giorgos Heimonas He cracks and exhibits the human cell at them moment of realization."
In 1821, much of Greece revolted against the Ottoman Empire. The island of Chios did not join the uprising. Because of its unique and very lucrative mastic resin production and its maritime trade it was very prosperous and its people wanted peace. The following year all changed and one of the greatest tragedies of the Greek people and European history up to that time took place.