Tuesday, March 20, 2012


by Bernard Ashley
Frances Lincoln, 2011. 139 pgs. Fiction.

Makis Magriotis and his parents are used to earthquakes where they live on the Greek island of Kefalonia, but nothing like the quake that destroyed their village and killed Makis's father. With their home gone, Makis and his mother are repatriated to London where the dank climate, unfamiliar language and customs, and the loss of her husband throw his mother into a deep sorrow. Makis does better because he turns out to be good at soccer and soon has mates on his school team. Also, their neighbors upstairs hears him tuning his father's mandolin and invites him up to play for him. Makis's attempts to help his mother adapt and learn the language are bearing some fruit, but on the morning of the championship match, things go dreadfully wrong.
Aftershock is the story of how a young boy becomes the man of his family, setting aside his own needs to care for his mother, even when it means his own troubles will increase. Rich with Greek culture, and showing a deep understanding of the difficulties of refugees, Aftershock is a fine, readily accessible story of a smart, brave, kind, and resilient young boy. Pair this with War Games by Audrey and Akila Couloumbis for two excellent books about Greece and her children.

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