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Helen Tsifourdaris Taptelis

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Mosaic Eyes
by Helen Tsifourdaris Taptelis   

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Literary Fiction



Copyright:  2007 ISBN-13:  9781419672750

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Tender and ultimately tragic, this exquisite novel blends timeless feminine mysteries with the memories of the ravages and uncertainties of war-torn Crete in the 1940s.

You can learn a lot about a woman by peering deep into her eyes. You can learn what she believes in, where her heart belongs, and where her strength lies.

In the mid 1940s, Stelliani Maltathaki loved a man she shouldn’t and lived in a place she despised. In a fit of jealous rage, she threw caution to the wind and left the small village of Paleia Petra to forge a new life in bustling Athens at the age of just eighteen. Having abandoned the protective branches of her family tree, she is forced to survive by her own devices. The only work she can find is as a paid companion in a rebetiko club where she becomes involved with the grassroots of the civil rebellion. When she establishes romantic and sexual affiliations with members of both leftist and rightist groups, she inadvertently becomes involved with a symbolic, as well as actual, murder. Mired in the pain of the past, she must unravel the mysteries that connect all that she ever was. Eyes are the windows to the soul and through the eyes of her great niece, Stelliani begins a journey of self-discovery and forgiveness.

Mosaic Eyes
Mosaic Eyes


Full of desire and miles of passion, this debut novel views the American female experience through the eyes of two outsiders. Beautifully crafted and powerfully wrought, Mosaic Eyes by newcomer Helen Tsifourdaris Taptelis is the moving and timeless epic that explores the complexities of what it is to be a woman and what it takes to make peace with one’s past. By hook, crook, transcendental misfortunes and a few self-created melodramas, one woman’s life proves challenging in a past beset with war and strife. Now years and years later, compelled to come to grips with her past indiscretions, she, at times unwittingly, begins to share her history with her great niece.

Stelliani Maltathaki is a woman with a past. Fallen from grace, she was banished from her small village in Crete never to return. Compelled to survive in a war-torn land immediately after the Second World War and during the civil war in Greece, she now lays on her deathbed. Bearing witness, Irene learns of her great aunt’s history through metaphorical dream sequences, unexpected leaps in time, and mystical experiences and ends up with mental and physical scars of her own.




The visions of Drako’s death came back, and not only did they come back, but they came back more vividly. It was as if she were seeing with new eyes—bluer ones—almost as blue as Edmund’s. She saw the color of her former love’s blood—it was a bluer red, a colder red, a red that dyed his face a deeper purple, that bruised his cheeks, a flesh colored pathway only carving itself through the stain in the form of clear tears. She remembered the flailing arms, only this time, she saw them broken, shattered, losing the form of a human arm. She saw the child, only this time, the child was wailing, his face as blue as Drako’s cheeks, his body shaking not only from the gun shots but also from deathly fear. Mihali was a monster to her now—a monster that eerily felt human pain—a Frankenstein of a different sort. She pulled away—leaving a shell of herself to fill the void of propriety.

So she would leave, longing to see Edmund, not because she was in love, but because she was understood—there was an unbreakable bond of kinship between the two—a kinship their eyes shared—an unvoiced kinship that silently traveled through their touching lips. So it was here that she began to make that return to her past, and it was odd because, despite the fact that Edmund too, in a hypocritical alliance, was responsible for the EDES counter revolution, she didn’t blame him personally—for anything.

And it was at this time, at this moment, at Edmund’s apartment, that her life would take a drastic turn once more, its most drastic turn.

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Reader Reviews for "Mosaic Eyes"

Reviewed by Helen Tsifourdaris Taptelis 7/27/2007

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