The Scapegoat - Sophia Nikolaidou
The Scapegoat (Melville House, $24.95), by Sophia Nikolaidou, is a gem of a novel by one of Greece’s finest contemporary writers. It begins with events surrounding the murder in 1948 of American journalist George Polk in Greece and the false conviction of a local journalist who confesses to the crime only after being tortured by Greek authorities. Told through the eyes of several generations of Greeks who are connected directly or tangentially to the murder, Nikolaidou’s narrative explores the often murky relationship between individuals and the state and draws uncanny parallels between postwar Greece and Greece today. The author’s story-telling is probing, sophisticated, at times humorous, and deeply humane. And the translation from Greek to English by Karen Emmerich is superb.