"Extraordinary . . . A modern classic."—Los Angeles Times
"Remarkable . . . A highly original and eloquent story."—Boston Globe
"The effect is haunting . . . bitter and beautiful."—New York Times
Set in an impoverished Greece at the cruel time of the German occupation during WWII, When the Tree Sings is a boy’s eye view of war’s terrible ways. The young narrator’s parents are dead, his paternal home destroyed; he lives with his aged grandmother. With barely enough to survive on, they struggle to avoid death—and we, the readers, are given the life of the village, filled with its vivid characters: Flisvos, the narrator’s one-eyed playmate; Lekas the Informer; Uncle Iasson, who is in love with Lekas’s red-haired mistress; Dando, who dies of fright; a mysterious figure known as the puppeteer. Mundane horrors mix with terrible cruelty and occasional, hysterical, levity. Our starving narrator is offered a chestnut from the soldiers’ fire—if he can hold it hot from the coals in his bare hand; a motorcycle engine runs to disguise the sounds of prisoners being tortured; an explosion kills all the fish in the bay and they wash up soaked in kerosene and inedible; the boys spend an afternoon plotting how to hang Grandmother’s only drawers from the enemy flagpole; a kitten named November is trained to fly in a basket tied to a paper kite. The wonder of this novel is how engaging the world is to the boy and, so, to readers who accompany him through the pages of this “modern classic.” (Los Angeles Times).