Verdan, Nicolas. “The Greek Wall”, (translated by W. Donald Wilson), Bitter Lemon, 2018.
A Search for Truth
Nicolas Verdan came to be a novelist after having had a career as a journalist and his writing is filled with realism. He loves his country, Greece, and we see that even through the dark themes of “The Greek Wall.”
We meet Intelligence Agent Evangelos who is looking for the truth about a murder that involves a severed head that was found on the Greek border near a wall that is meant to stop Middle Eastern immigrants crossing into Greece from Turkey. Agent Evangelos also wants the truth about human trafficking into Greece and about the corruption surrounding the wall’s construction. Because this is a mystery novel, I cannot divulge too much about the plot but I can say that is reminds us about the problems of the West incarnated in Greece including isolationism, fear of immigration, economic collapse, and corruption.
When the wall was being built, folk stories about happened arose and Verdan has used those stories as part of the plot. Add to that, Verdan’s lyrical and descriptive prose and you find yourself involved in both the story and the smells and sounds of Athens. Even though the story is fiction, we learn about the way borders are policed in Europe while at the same time we, along with Evangelos, are involved with the two victims of murder— a German/Greek businessman and a Russian prostitute. For those who did not realize it before, life is a maze filled with twists and turns. Often the will of the system we are a part of has power over us and movement is not possible without consent.
As I said earlier, I am limited with what I can share with you without revealing spoilers so take my word that this mystery is also a thriller that keeps you turning pages.