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THE CLOVER HOUSE ~Henriette Lazaridis Power

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

THE CLOVER HOUSE is an interesting first novel which takes us on a journey to Greece; not only present day Greece but how life was lived during World War II. It is a story which indicates how a vibrant landowning, wealthy family can be completely changed by war and how it proceeds to change the family patterns in the next generations.

The story centers on a family secret that no one is sharing with the youngest member of the present generation – Calliope.  When Calliope’s only uncle dies she must dive into the contents of his home to figure out what message he is attempting to relay to her.  Calliope has a tough relationship with her Greek Mother and has spent the majority of her formative years living in the New England area of the USA where her American Father brought his new bride.  Summers were spent with her Mother’s family in Greece, where Callie has developed a close relationship with her Aunts, Uncle and one cousin.  Calliope has a problem with attachment to people, particularly her mother and since the death of her father her close knit family in Greece.  It is causing problems with her recent engagement also.

I do not think THE CLOVER HOUSE is about PTSD carried to the next generation, I think rather it is about SHAME from childhood confusions, teenage rebellions, fear and survival carried over from the experience of War into the future.   While I was reading this novel, I read these three quotes shared by Brene’ Brown, a psychology researcher, on her Blog and I thought they clarified this behavior extremely well.

“Shame diminishes our capacity for empathy.“   “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”   And from the book Shame & Guilt by Tangney and Dearing “ …feelings of shame are so painful that it pulls the focus to our own survival, not the experience of other”.

I had a hard time feeling the rhythm of the writing in the beginning of the story, then when the story began unfolding and I found the pacing; I could not put the book down.  I loved the cultural differences showcased and explored by the cultural bi-participant.   I have empathy for my parents leaving closely tied family to live far away in another country and yet how my mother particularly grew closer to her siblings as they aged.

I enjoyed the descriptions of farm life and business during the war and the contemporary Carnival experience of Lent played out as a metaphor for the resurrection which brought about atonement – enlightenment- understanding.   There was need of a great many of the details and fine tuning to create this layered story allowing for healing; maybe even redemption and connection.

This book goes on sale April 2, 2013 and I was sent an uncorrected eBook by Ballantine Books/Random House and TLC online Tours. It was a good read and there is a giveaway being offered by the Publishers.   You need to make a comment to win a copy of THE CLOVER HOUSE.

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If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site or Google Ads, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Other Words To Enjoy:
Capital of the World
30 Days With My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay


Monday, April 2nd, 2012
women in black poster

Women in Black poster

I guess I am a fool, but I am not attending worship services again this important week.  There is no one to celebrate a Seder and our faith community just schedules their gathering with the ever growing group of Temple friends.  I do not attend most Christian services anymore because it is such a huge event of Entertainment – which means tons of fancy clothing and perfume.  Add all the visitors with out-gasing toxic laundry products, shampoos and deodorants it makes the gathering a nightmarish, experience.   This year I decided to watch the news instead.

Too much US vs. THEM I turned it off and went walking and to smell the flowers.  When I returned home an old 1990 day planner called the Everywoman’s Almanac  caught my eye.  I could not remember why I did not throw it out; I did remember the lovely bookstore where I purchased it and how important it was to me. I truly savored the brief stories and art that surrounded the days of the week.   When I opened it, I knew why I could not throw it away and what an amazing record of my hours spent working for PEACE.

I would like to share two of the excerpts from the book.  The first piece is about Felicia Langer   an Israeli human rights lawyer and activist.  All of her work has been defending Palestinians and Israeli dissidents.  In 1988, she was the vice president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.

When I came to Israel in 1950 I saw that there was an Arab population under military rule.  I couldn’t understand how it was possible that we, the Jews, who were discriminated against so much, could put another people in a prison.  I felt suffocated.

The second stage of suffocation occurred in 1967 when the oppression in the Occupied Territories began.  I had been a lawyer for two years and I said to myself, “I have a skill, I can do something.  I have to do something, otherwise I cannot survive.”  I decided to open an office in Jerusalem.

I was told, “You’re a Jew, an Israeli, and a woman, why should Arabs believe you, and you don’t even speak Arabic?”  Everybody was skeptical.  The mother of my first client came and spoke about her son’s shirt which was stained with blood from his torture in Hebron prison.  I thought about my son, Michael.  I didn’t speak, but if felt as though there was no barrier between us.  We became friends then, without a language, without common culture or origin.  You can lie with words, but it’s very hard to lie if you feel something very strongly.

For years we had to fight in order to have a line in the papers about the Occupied Territories.  Now it is better.  We have peace forces and a strong opposition.  But I am not satisfied with the amount of people who are protesting the Occupation.  Every day, the death toll is terrible.  A society that is tolerating murders is cultivating murder.  This tolerance is a tragedy, not only for the Palestinians but also for us.  Therefor we have to expose the ugliness of what is happening.  If they want to beautify it, we have to expose it relentlessly.

I have so much love for everything which is human, that it is hard to speak about being self-hating.  What I really hate is discrimination, I hate inflicting pain and sorrow and I hate murderers.  But I very much love those who are fighting against them.

I got a prize at Dachau in memory of a German lawyer who fought against fascism.  I asked my friends, “Munich is so close to Dachau.  Didn’t you know what was going on?”  They answered, “Those who didn’t want to know, didn’t know.”  It’s the same in Israel.  Nobody can live with the excuse that they don’t know.  I think that silence in such a time is complicity.”

The second piece is about the “Women in Black” group which was organized in 1988. Our group still meets at the busiest intersection of the city on Friday nights during rush hour.    Mothers are still silently praying for peace all over the world.

Women in Black organized a weekly gathering in Jerusalem.  Every Friday form 1pm to 2pm, about eighty women dressed in black gather and stand in a circle holding black signs that read “End the Occupation.”  They have been gathering since January 1988, a month after the Intifada, the current Palestinian uprising in the Occupied Territories, began.

More than 3,000 women, Jewish and Arab, have contributed to a quilt by adding a square containing her name and a political slogan, saying or poem.

So here we have arrived with a week of eating unleavened bread and waving branches of palm to mark our sorrow and all around me is the ravages of Us vs. Them – Jesus was all about giving to Caesar what was Caesars; healing and peace.    I guess we are just celebrating bling these days with plenty of chocolate on the side.

How are you working on peace?   Do you want to know?  Do you want to see?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket!

Related Reading:
Mug Vs. Heart
Women Wars
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Temple Grandin:  a movie review