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One of the early 1990's best movies, Beckett with John Keshi is an epic love story between a Greek God like Panagiotis and a human girl, Beckett. As a background to this epic love story, there are a lot of subplots that take place in the background, filling in the details. For instance, at one point, Panagiotis has been dead for five years and now his ghost travels back in time to get married to a woman he'd never known. There's a whole host of other minor and interesting events.
The movie clocks in at over 90 minutes long, and when all is said and done it feels very long. However, the pace picks up as the story unravels, and soon enough we're introduced to our new main character, John Keshi. John is the conservative, Bible-thumping Greek Orthodox, and he's just the kind of guy you would expect to see accompanying a Pope on a trip to Athens during the height of political unrest. In fact, John and his wife Beckett travel to Greece during the very tumultuous period of political unrest, and they end up being held prisoner by members of the Popular Front for the Salvation of Greece.
During this time, the Popular Front is led by its leader, Demos Labronakis. John and Beckett end up rescuing the two American tourists from the cellars in the house of Demos, and they subsequently become the objects of envy and affection of a man named Nicos Anastasiades. Eventually, the two American men fall in love with each other and they marry each other. However, things don't go so smoothly, and John Keshi gets shot and dies in the line of duty. The novel ends with a gripping, poignant epilogue.
I really enjoyed this novel. It's written in a very engaging way and contains many interesting historical and cultural details that will make the reader's head spin. For instance, I was completely surprised to learn that the US Consul in Athens was an Orthodox Christian. I had no idea, and this is a detail that adds great twists and turns throughout the book. There were also many twists regarding the period of the internment of the Greek Catholics, and what role the US Consulate played in all of this.
I also really liked the fact that Beckett becomes a spy for the British during World War II, and then he is placed in the all-important office in Greece that supervises all of the internment of American citizens that were being held there at the time. He tries to help the couple get back home, but things don't go as he planned, and he ends up nearly losing his life while trying to save the couple. This book is not a happy ending, but it is a realistic look into the period of the Cold War and what America was doing in that period of time.
Edward Said wrote the Forward to the novel Beckett. The Foreword states that Beckett "seeks the meaning of life and death in every action he chooses to participate in." Edward Said is one of my most respected authors, and this is another great book in his impressive body of work. It's well-written and will make a great addition to any library. I especially enjoyed the cultural and historical insights that are sprinkled throughout the Forward. For those interested in World History or ancient civilisations, this is a must read book.