Some of books

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Bologna 2007

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 An appreciative article
Meni Kanatsouli, professor of Children’s Literature at University of Athens

Voula Mastori will deservedly represent Greece
for Andersen Award 2008,
the most important award in children’s literature

Voula Mastori, in her books –both literary and educational ones– has a very strong asset for the child-reader: without boring him/her, she penetrates him/her with ideological thesis and aspects. Mastori does not admonish, neither does she declare; but in a very friendly manner, sometimes boldly and some other times with a smile, she speaks about the gender and culture otherness, death, family and interpersonal relations. She impresses with her experimentation together with both the thematic and narrative renewal of her stories, which is what applies to a gifted writer.
A first identifying point of Voula Mastori’s innovator writing genre is that she deftly impoverishes the borders between the literary styles and the identities of literary subjects. Mastori equilibrates boldly between genre categories which lead her to the creation of a new literary style.
"The Land with Two Cities and Almond-eye Cradles"
The Land with two Cities and almond-eye cradles (1977)* is a book which, while its subject is the conception and birth of a child, which could list it in a category of educational books, its approach to it is poetical, just because it was necessary to keep some of the magic about the mystery of life.
"At High School" 
The fluidity game of genre classification passes to her novels, too. The most significant novel of hers, the In High School (1991), while it seems ethnographic with its walkabout in the life of a provincial Greek town about half a century ago, in reality it deals with matters which are deeply social and which concern the bias of the traditional society about genders, sex abuse, the dubious relation teenagers have with their body and sex identity. This book has a very advanced for Greek teenagers’ literature woman-centric view: Mastori dares to describe the girl the time she becomes a woman and watches in awe her bodily changes and men’s lust. Even more pioneer is the depiction of the male sex, a depiction which transpires a very advanced social sensibility. The sensitive boy here, the “sissy” for the others, passes through the modern ideological new classifications in literature for young readers concerning the gender identity: the traditional characteristics of genders have given ground to the personal individual identity of literary subjects.
In dolLina, her latest novel, there is the contemporary family with the current problem of divorce and its dealing from the part of the two divorcing parents in a “modern” and “civil” way. But it is exactly here that Mastori does her innovator rupture. However a separation happens, children get hurt, they do not compromise with the changes in their life and in the life of their folks; they prefer a more definite separation. The composition of the child is described with sincerity; at the same time, though, it is his/her maturation which is described too; a procedure that is possible through reverse only.
This book –and this is the second identifying point of Mastori’s vanguard– is very modern in narrative style. The lingo of the contemporary youngsters saturates the dialogues and I imagine Mastori has been a very studious eavesdropper of them. The e-mail, chat rooms and messengers are another, too, very successful trick of hers so that to take in the contemporary reader with his/her own terms in literature reading.
"Under her Heart"
 Mastori’s art is the narrative variety: Sometimes she follows the third person narration, sometimes the double narration –the first person in a diary in combination with the third person, as for example in In High School – and sometimes she focuses to one person through the diffractive picture of another person, as in Under her Heart (1995). But it is when the first person narrator is a pre-primary school child where she proves to be a master. It is difficult to combine in a text which claims to be literary the plausibility of the speech of a child-narrator with the ability this speech of his/her to satisfy literarily.
"The Snowman"s Taken Mum"
In The Snowman’s Taken Mum Away (1999), little Giannis, with disarming sincerity and irony, comments on the culture and social otherness in his kindergarten, on his parents’ divorce and their different mentality, as death in A teeny hand dipped in Syrup (1978).
"A Teeny Hand Dipped in Sirup"
Mastori –I wish her heartily to win the Andersen Award– constitutes tangible evidence that in order to write children’s books you need talent, sentiment, heart, but mainly you need to organize the plot and the narrative techniques studiously, to do rupture and peripeties and, the most important, to apprentice with children and books constantly.
KATHIMERINI (daily newspaper), Athens, February 2007
*in brackets the year of first edition