Born in 1987, the writer and stage director Gerasimos Bekas grew up in Greece and Franconia and lives in Berlin and Athens. In 2013 won a literary stipend from the Bavarian Academy of Writing. He won the 2014 taz Audience Award at Germany’s annual Open Mike event. His current productions include Glitsch-Gott (Maxim Gorki Theatre 2015), G for Gademis (Greek National Theatre 2015) and Das große Wundenlecken (Theater Augsburg 2016/7). All The Good People Were Dead is his debut novel.
ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE WERE DEAD
Aris was born in Greece and adopted as a small child by Helmut and Gitte as a form of “reparation” for German atrocities committed there. He became a nurse at an elderly people’s home, a job that takes a heavy toll. As one of his patients put it, “All these sad eyes, it’s enough to make you sick of living.” When the terminally ill Xenaki makes him an unusual proposition, he hesitates, then agrees. Aris is to travel to Greece and give her granddaughter Aphrodite her inheritance.
Just after his arrival in Athens, he is spun into a web of murky dealings by Stelios, a wily kiosk owner, and Sakis, a would-be gigolo. But he still has to find the inheritance – and Aphrodite. The mysterious heirloom turns out to be a packet of old letters and photographs from the dark war years when Ms Xenaki fought against the German occupiers with Aris Kommenos. This legendary resistance fighter is the namesake of Aris, who now asks himself: Did Xenaki know that?
Gerasimos Bekas’s witty, vivacious novel describes a young man’s search for identity while depicting in unsparing detail the Greek resistance to the German occupation, an era that many Germans still prefer to forget. Yet this multifaceted story also explores how Greece’s current situation is influenced by the destruction wrought by the Germans during World War II.