fiction, translated from the modern Greek by Leslie Finer, paperback, 303 pages, ISBN 978-0-87376-048-5
The Third Wedding depicts the harsh realities of life experienced by Greece's lower classes before, during, and after World War II. Taktsis's unromantic prose, written in a colloquial idiom, is reminiscent of the Naturalism of Zola and the Verismo of Verga. The story is told through the eyes of two women, Nina and Hecuba. As their tales unfold, the reader quickly realizes that these women could survive the hardships of poverty, hunger, provincial prejudice, cultural constraints, and foreign occupation, only through assertiveness, cunning, sarcasm, and heroism, which is related sometimes brutally, sometimes hilariously.
Taktsis has let individual lives speak deliberately for themselves and unwittingly for their period with unforced authority.
By far the greatest novel Greece has produced…
San Francisco Chronicle
“Aryiris always wanted to become a doctor. He was keen on surgery. When we were kids he used to catch frogs and mice and cut them open to show me the various organs: heart, kidneys, stomach, even the hole the frogs had for excreting. His sister Nadia and Dino couldn’t bear to look. When they saw the mouse’s entrails spilling out they turned pale and ran away. But I sat there with calm curiosity. Dino, who was always a tell-tale, would rush off to tell mama, and she’d shake her head sadly and say she couldn’t understand how such a hard-bitten girl could have come out of her belly. But papa, who for years had been assistant director of the University’s zoological museum and who had stuffed thousands of dead animals and birds in his life, would wink at me and say: ‘Never mind, your mother doesn’t understand those things.’ ”
from The Third Wedding
Costas Taktsis was born in the northern Greek city of Salonica, studied law before becoming a full-time writer and translator. He wrote ''The Third Wedding'' in 1962 and had it published at his own expense. The book, which was written in the first person, tells the story of Nitsa, an Athenian woman who survived World War II and the Greek civil war through her resilience and caustic sense of humor. Ignored by Greek critics, the book sold few copies until it was translated into English in 1968. It then won enthusiastic reviews that praised Taktsis' humorous insight and lively picture of middle-class Athenian life. Taktis was also known for his translations of ancient Greek plays into modern Greek, often for experimental performances by Athenian theater groups. Taktsis died a violent death in Athens at the age of 61.