There is a thoughtful stillness around Alki Zei.

Review for Tina’s web by Clodagh Corcoran in INIS MAGAZINE CHILDREN’S BOOK IRELAND, Summer 2007 issue

There is a thoughtful stillness around Alki Zei.  Watching her, you sense she has a history. You wonder about her childhood – was she lonely? sad? - but she tells you that it was a good one, and she was able to read Hans Andersen and many of the classics, translated into Greek. But, when she was a young woman she was involved with the Greek Resistance against the German occupation during World War 11. The civil war which followed saw her fleeing with her husband to the Soviet Union as a political refugee.  There her children were born, and she started to write for young adults.

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A Trip of Self-awareness

by Vangelis Hadjivasileiou

Article published in ELEFTHEROTYPIA newspaper on 22/6/2003

I know very little about children’s literature or about literature for young people.  But going through the new book by Alki Zei, I felt, from the very first pages, that this book absolutely concerned me, despite being an adult reader.  And I confess that this feeling stayed with me to the end. Constantina and her Spiders is a modern, extremely well balanced social novel, the main character being a thirteen-year old girl who is going through a very painful voyage of self-awareness, when she is called upon to get to the heart of serious family and personal problems.

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Overall appreciative essay of Alki Zei's work

by the literary critic Elisabeth Kotzia, in the occasion of the publication of Constantina and her spiders

Published in KATHIMERINI on 22/12/2002 (Athens)

Prose landmark

End of an era.  What we all know, because it is our living experience, Alki Zei imprints on her pages. With infinite generosity and on behalf of those who went through and described Greece’s political suffering which lasted forty years (1936-1974), she shares this knowledge with a much younger generation which is now experiencing a world incomprehensively violent, not because of the German savagery, the civil war or the 7-year dictatorship, but for completely different reasons.

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A masterpiece!

by Bernard Epin in L' ECOLE ET LA NATION

Review for the first publication of Wildcat under glass in France (1973)

A masterpiece!  Undoubtedly perfect, extremely moving.  One should not always refrain from expressing one’s enthusiasm!  This novel beautifully translated from the Greek, sums up all the essential qualities that one seeks in the children’s literature of our times.  Through a sensitivity always alert, a freshness of the eye, a concrete vision that excludes all moralising prose, Alki Zei succeeds in keeping, from beginning to end, the “childish” tone of the narration in order to deal with overwhelming frankness with a subject of such grave consequence as Fascism, which for once we are not afraid to call by its name.

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Review for Petros’ war


RESISTANCE Michael Thomas

Petros War.  By Alki Zei.  Translated by Edward Fenton.  Gollancz.

Although this story is about a young boy's life in occupied Athens during the Second World War, it has the realism of adapted autobiography, for Miss Zei was herself a child in the city at that time.  As a story, it is episodic but still carried forward by the most terrible suspense of all -which of the characters will survive to see the day of freedom?  There are horrors enough -unarmed youngsters shot down in cold blood, the secret disposal of a friend's dead grandmother so that the starving family can keep her rations- but they are not laboured.

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