Lauren K's Reviews > Two Greeks

Two Greeks by John Charalambous
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's review
Aug 24, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: aussie-author
Read from August 26 to 27, 2011

Two Greeks is a clever story about a dysfunctional family who face culture clashes, domestic abuse and an inquisitive young boy who is trying to make sense of his Greek-Australian family in the 1970’s. It is told from the POV of Andy, a ten year old boy who seems to be relaying the family experiences to his mother when he is an adult (this is a little confusing at first, but soon becomes clearer). Harry is a Cypriot migrant who marries an Australian woman who is quite inexperienced with men and relationships. He is overprotective, controlling and emotionally abusive but she stands by him for the sake of the children, Angela who we meet as a teenage girl and of course Andy. Their mother is waiting for the laws to change so she can leave Harry without legal hassles following a twelve month separation.

Andy strives for the approval of his Greek father, but doesn’t know how to get it. While Angela is not afraid to stand up to her bully father and fears her mother’s safety. Common in children of families where there is domestic abuse, Angela too is controlling and protective, this she has learnt as a means of survival and desire to look after her mother. Andy seems to go under the radar in the family, not quite sure where he fits in until an old man by the name of Alex Voreadis, a Greek man who moves in next door. Intrigued by him, Andy begins to visit the man who offers him a dog-walking job for $1 a day which he accepts. Andy forms a friendship with the man who teaches him Greek prose, politics and history which he sponges up with pride. It is through his neighbour that he truly begins to understand his father, and it is this indirect relationship that he can connect with his father as a Greek man with a past captured by losses, disappointments and challenges and not just the bully he knows him as.

I really enjoyed Two Greeks, it’s a classic piece of literature that highlights how ones origins remain part of you throughout your life and also provides an insight into culture, identity and family relationships in a mixed migrant family in Australia.
3.5/ 5

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