My Last Lament

My Last Lament - James William Brown

What I loved about this novel was the journey that I took. Aliki was asked to talk about her life as a lamenter, recording her story on a tape recorder and some tapes for which a woman would later return and collect from her. As a lamenter, wearing the shoes of a deceased individual, Aliki would enter into a state, where she would compose a chant talking about the deceased individual and their life. It was usually the older individuals who called upon Aliki and then when her services were completed, the body was ready for burial. Aliki thought she should begin her story and these tapes at the beginning and so it is here in 1943, Aliki is 14 and the Germans are living in her homeland. This story is told to us as if it is spoken on audiotapes. It’s a story about Aliki when she grew up and about her current situation, simultaneously.


Her friend Stelios begins to make puppets and he asks Aliki to help him put on a show. The two of them become great puppeteers together and you can feel a closeness between them. Takis begins to act strangely but the two of them don’t pay much attention to him as I feel they are preoccupied with their own lives. The story becomes quite intense as the Germans hold nothing back as they attack the village, for it is time for them to leave and their exit is dramatic. This is a story of itself as their lives are no longer as they were. Stelios decides he will go to Athens. Aliki decides she will go with him and they will take Takis with them. With hearts that are heavy, promises that have been made, and troubles from within, these three individuals wander out into the world to find their place in it. I enjoyed their travels, their turmoil’s and their accomplishments. With lots of conflicts and drama, I liked the fight that Aliki fought all by herself. As we hear this story of her life we also hear how Aliki is dealing with her current situation. I liked this part of the story as Aliki was funny and she had a spark in her. Her life has been adventurous and now, one of her oldest friends is losing the battle of their life. This is not a real sad time in the novel but a time for reflection. Aliki reflects and talks with her friend and I like how the two of them chat and reminisce. This novel was better than what I had expected.

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.