About the book
Compelled to fulfill her father's dying wish to find the half-sister he kept from her, Alexia arrives in her father's village of Diakofto on the edge of the Peloponnese. There she discovers a culture she knows nothing about, a country in financial crisis, and an extended family with too many secrets. The Sarinopoulos family has long been marked by tragedy, war, and a shame fanned by idle village gossip. Looming over Alexia's visit and the one trip back to Greece her father had taken twenty-five years earlier is the tragedy of Kalavryta, a Second World War massacre that changed the family forever.
Told in alternating voices of Alexia and Nicolai, who each return to Greece to mourn a loss and find soalce, Nicolai's Daughters uncovers the secret shame that festers in a family, refusing to heal until the truth is revealed.
About the author
Stella Leventoyannis Harvey was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to Calgary as a child with her family. In 2001, Stella founded the Whistler Writers Group, also known as the Vicious Circle, which each year produces the Whistler Writers Festival under her direction. Stella is a fiction writer whose short stories have appeared in The Literary Leanings Anthology, The New Orphic Review, Emerge Magazine and The Dalhousie Review. Her non-fiction has appeared in Pique Newsmagazine, The Question and the Globe and Mail. She currently lives with her husband in Whistler, but visits her many relatives in Greece often, indulging her love of Greek food and culture and honing her fluency in the language. Her first novel, Nicolai's Daughters was published in 2012 with the Greek translation published by Psichogios Publications of Athens. Her second novel, The Brink of Freedom was published in 2015.
Behind the fenced grounds of the museum stood a life-sized sculpture. A scene. Alexia moved closer, knotted her fingers through the mesh. The sculpture had turned green under the sun, rain and all the other things that hit it. Still, the four stone figures seemed so real. A dead man in a suit lay on a blanket; his eyes open to the sky. A woman tugged at the blanket where his body lay. A young boy no more than six or seven pulled at her sleeve as if to persuade her to let go, leave the dead man behind. Another figure stood apart from the rest. A girl, younger, her arms helplessly by her sides.
Alexia searched the girl’s vacant gaze and tightened her grip on the fence. Images flashed. Lights. A chill. Something cold in her hand. The girl must be the same age she was when . . . She couldn’t think of this right now. Not now.
“Things happen to us,” Christina said softly, and put her arm on Alexia’s back. "One day everything okay. The next all is wrong.”
Book club guide
“Our history lives in us, resides in our bodies, not just our singular unique experiences but in the collective experiences of our parents, our grandparents, our cultural backdrop. These are our stories and at some point in our lives our…” >>
— Alyssa Noel Pique News Magazine
Aidos, the Greek goddess of shame, must have been looking over Canadian Stella Harvey's shoulder during the six years she spent crafting her first novel.
In Nicolai's Daughters, published by the Winnipeg literary house Signature Editions, she deftly…” >>
— Gordon Arnold The Winnipeg Free Press
“Stella Leventoyannis Harvey was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to Calgary as a child with her family. In 2001, Stella founded the Whistler Writers Group, also known as the Vicious Circle, which each year produces the Whistler Writers Festival…” >>
— Rob McLennan
Wednesday, October 14
Stella Leventoyannis Harvey was interviewed by Mountain FM about her new novel, The Brink of Freedom
(MP3 file, 6:05)