Review of the book “The Guard” by Nikos Kavadías.

“The Guard” is a novel by the Greek writer Nikos Kavadías, originally published in 1954. This work is considered one of the best in Greek literature of the 20th century and is widely recognized for its complexity, depth and originality.

The plot of the novel follows the life of the protagonist, a young man named Stratis, who is recruited into the Greek National Guard. The story is set against the backdrop of World War II, where Greek soldiers are facing the Nazis. Through Stratis’ perspective, the novel explores the internal and external conflicts faced by the soldiers, as well as their relationship to the country and their identity.

Kavadías uses a poetic and symbolic writing style, in which each element of the narrative has a deep and complex meaning. The characters and their actions symbolize the historical, political and cultural struggles of Greece, while the nature and landscape are a metaphor for human conflict.

The novel is a testimony to the complexity of the human being, and how war can affect a person’s psychology and identity. The characters in the novel undergo profound change, which is often traumatic, and this is reflected in the way they relate to their surroundings and themselves.

In addition to being a literary work of high quality, “The Guard” is also a profound reflection on Greek history and culture, as well as on human nature. The novel is a call to resistance and hope, despite violence and suffering.

Nikos Kavadías (1910-1975) was a prominent Greek writer, considered one of the most important literary figures of the 20th century in his country. He was a poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist and screenwriter, and his work has been translated into numerous languages.

He was born in Naxos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, and from a young age he demonstrated his passion for literature and writing. He worked as a journalist and film scriptwriter before devoting himself completely to literature. In his literary career he published several collections of poetry, novels and short stories, and received numerous awards and honors, including the Greek National Prize for Literature in 1964.

Kavadías’s work is characterized by a poetic sensitivity and a deep concern for national identity and Greek culture. His stories often explore the relationship between the individual and the community, and the conflicts that arise from this relationship. He is also known for his ability to combine poetry and prose, creating fluid and evocative writing.

One of his best-known works is the novel “The Guard” (To Stratopedo), published in 1954, which is considered a masterpiece of modern Greek literature. The novel is a reflection on the life and identity of Greek soldiers during World War II, and uses poetic and symbolic language to explore the internal and external conflicts faced by the characters.

Another of his important works is “The Fishermen” (Oi kynigoi), a collection of stories that explore the life of fishermen on the island of Naxos and their relationship with the sea. In this work, Kavadías demonstrates his ability to create poetic and evocative images that capture the complexity of the lives of fishermen and their relationship with the sea.

Nikos Kavadías was a Greek writer of great importance in 20th century literature. His work is characterized by a poetic sensibility, a deep exploration of Greek identity and culture, and an ability to combine poetry and prose in fluid and evocative ways. His works, especially “The Guard” and “The Fishermen”, are considered masterpieces of modern Greek literature and remain relevant today.

In summary, “The Guard” is an exceptional novel, which combines a poetic and symbolic style with a deep and complex exploration of human psychology. Kavadías manages to create a literary work of great quality, which in turn is a reflection on history, culture and human nature. It is a work that undoubtedly deserves to be read and studied, both for its literary value and for its historical and cultural relevance.


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