Dimitris Kostopoulos: The Chalk – A “melodrama” between History and Fiction

“The unification of truth (reality) with falsehood (fiction) is also a criterion of successful writing”

A fascinating novel, with elements of a detective story, but at the same time a walk through the history of Leros with a narrative that departs from the usual and takes the form of a puzzle, which is completed when the last piece is put in at the end of the book.

The author himself describes his book as a “melodrama” and the subtitle is “A multi-faceted and long-lasting story about the difficult melodrama of life”.

Indeed, through associations and strange ramifications, starting with a crime committed during the Italian occupation, it goes back in time and into the future. The stories that take place initially seem to have the island of Leros as their only connecting link. This, however, as it will turn out, is only partially true.

There are clues that we will have to wait until the last page to discover. Like a digging through archives and old photographs that reveal a truth we never imagined.

Behind this excellent novel lies, of course, in addition to the author’s skill, a great deal of historical research and in-depth knowledge of what has happened in Leros.

And I say this as a researcher myself of the very special history of the island…


Kostas Stoforos



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