Andreas Franghias' novel The Courtyard gives us a picture of Athens not found in the guidebooks. Set in the ruins of post-World War II Greece, the story revolves around the inhabitants of a single courtyard in one of the city's poorer neighborhoods. Officially, the civil war has been over for years, but its devastating effects continue to haunt the survivors as, driven by fear, hunger and greed, they try to wrangle a way out of their poverty and pent-up lives.
We follow them as they scheme and pursue their dreams through the backstreets of Monastiraki and the coffeehouses of Omonia Square. There is Eftihis, a street-peddler who dreams of making it big on money from an extorted dowry. There is Lucia, the wife of a country school-teacher who returns to look for a past that no longer exists. There is Andonis, one-time resistance fighter, now small-time operator. And there is Angelos, a political fugitive on the run from himself.
The Courtyard tells their stories with humor and drama. It is the portrait of a city rebuilding and reshaping itself; of a society torn out at the roots, suspended between the uncertainties of its future and the nightmares of its past.