Monday 15 August 2011

North Of Ithaka by Eleni Gage

I love Greece!   I love the people, the food, the weather, the way of life, the history.  

I also really enjoy reading books that are set in Greece, whether fiction or fact.

I've read quite a lot of stories about people buying a property in Greece and on the whole they are entertaining reads.  

North Of Ithaka by Eleni Gage however, is much much more than just the story of the renovation of an old house.  
Eleni Gage is the daughter of writer Nicholas Gage.

His most famous book; Eleni is the story of his mother who was murdered during the Greek Civil War.

Eleni was adapted for film in 1985 - John Malkovitch played the role of Nick Gage.

Eleni Gage returned to the small village of Lia in Northern Greece with the intention of rebuilding her murdered Grandmother's house.

This is the house in which she was keep prisoner and the house from which she made her final journey.  

Eleni's father and his sisters have all since settled in America and the house is now  uninhabitable.  Eleni was determined that she would restore it to its former glory - much to the dismay of her aunts who were convinced that something evil would happen to her if she dared to disturb the house with such sad memories.

North Of Ithaka is Eleni's story, and it is wonderfully written.  It's part memoir and part history and makes compelling and fascinating reading.  

Eleni Gage
Eleni was welcomed into the bosom of village life, probably because her family was well-known in the area, but the warmth and kindness of her neighbours is overwhelming - as is the frustration and irritation that Eleni felt as she encountered some of the difficulties in getting anyone in Greece to work quickly or to a timescale.

This story is so much more than the account of how the house was rebuilt.  Such insight into the lives of the villagers, their customs and their beliefs add so much to the whole reading experience.
I read Nicholas Gage's Eleni some years ago, but have never seen the film.  I intend to change that very soon.
Anyone who loves Greece, is interested in recent history and enjoys travel and food will love this book.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really interesting Anne. One for the wishlist, I think!