submitted by Odyssey Magazine on 06.11.2007
ODYSSEY Magazine, March/April 2007, pp. 81-82
Peter Prineas, a Greek Australian of Kytherian descent, is the author of Katsehamos and The Great Idea, which tells the story of his ancestors migrations to the United States and subsequently to Australia in the early 1900's.
Written with affection and insight, and meticulously researched, the narrative skillfully integrates the personal history of Prineas’s family with the broader history of Kythera and Greece, and in particular, with that of the “Megali Idea—the “great idea”, or Greek ambitions to retake Constantinople from the Turks in the early part of the twentieth century and to reestablish the city as the capital of a greater Greece.
Having more than fulfilled his military obligations in a number of wars, Prineas’s grandfather, the “Katsehamos” of the title, ends up in a small town in the Australian outback in the late 1920s. where he is determined to develop his own great idea. This involves no less than building the Roxy Theatre, a two storey art-deco cinema, which he believes will make his fortune. The book traces the rise and fall in the fortunes of these pioneers, who leaving real wars behind them in Greece, ended up becoming embroiled in a local cinema war. Prineas captures the dreams and aspirations of these tenacious first migrants, torn as they were between their real love of Greece and the need to escape crushing poverty through migration. The characters in Katsehamos and The Great Idea come alive through the author’s lyrical style and effective use of imagery, as well as the skillful juxtaposition of biographical detail with historical fact.
A poignant celebration of early Greek migrants. Katsehamos and the Great Idea pays tribute to their lasting contribution to the cultural legacy of Australia.
Katsehamos and the Great Idea.
Author: Peter Prineas
When Published: April, 2006
Publisher: Plateia 32 Calder Road, Darlington, N.S.W., 2008, AUSTRALIA.
Description: Soft cover, 248 pages, biblio., notes, index, photographs. Australia A$34.95 incl postage; USA and Europe A$46.00 airmail.
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