Since the spring of 2010 Greece has become the epicenter of a pan-European financial crisis with global repercussions. This beautiful sun-drenched but arid land in the southeast corner of Europe had missed entirely the industrial revolution. It has long been accustomed to centuries of severe underdevelopment and dire poverty. As a result, generations upon generations of destitute Greeks were forced to migrate to faraway places such as America, Australia and Germany to escape the misery. However, a startling reversal of Greece’s fortunes took place in a single decade when the ascension of the country into the European Union, coupled with the collapse of all her neighboring ex-communist countries, resulted in the rapid transformation of that backward land into a regional powerhouse that enjoyed a booming economy based on European subsidies and loans that lasted from about 1990 to 2007. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, the steady flow of cheap loans dried abruptly, exposing bare the structural weaknesses of a country that essentially lacked any manufacturing capacity and any solid technological foundation. The whole country suddenly collapsed into a tormenting death spiral that is rapidly dismantling its societal web and is forcing large chunks of its unlucky citizenry into joblessness and dire poverty. The country is only kept barely alive by the financial support provided by her European allies who are afraid of the unknown consequences in the overall European economy of an uncontrolled Greek default.
To the millions of second and third-generation ethnic Greeks who live outside the country, especially in places like North America, Australia, Germany, and in dozens other countries, who are the descendants of the earlier emigrants, those startlingly rapid developments are baffling. They fail to comprehend the underlying factors that led the motherland of their parents and grandparents to such a huge mess. Amongst many other goals, “Fateful Eyes” humbly attempts to address, expose and explain some of those factors, at least according to the author’s perception.
The main character of this novel, Peter, is a cosmopolitan Greek who grew up in Athens but who migrated to the UK. During his youthful years in College, apart from his numerous, passionate love affairs, he also participated fervently in the student movement of the early 80s that brought to power a leftwing-minded generation that is considered by many pundits today to have seeded the easy-going mentality and the other root causes of the country’s recent malaise. Peter wanders around Greece again in the “golden era” of the years 2002 – 2005, when Greece was accepted into the rich and exclusive Eurozone club, executed impeccably a hugely successful 2004 Olympic Games and basked proudly in the spotlight of the global admiration enjoying a prosperity that seemed, at that time, joyfully never-ending. Peter, never failing to apply his inquisitive mind on whatever happens around him, is of course hugely impressed by those “miraculous achievements” of his motherland, but he does not hesitate to look below the surface, to try to understand what is really happening in the country and what the future will really look like. Needless to say, what he finds is not encouraging at all.