Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens
by Sofka Zinovieff

Title: Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens
Author: Sofka Zinovieff
Publisher: Granta Books
Date of Publication: 2004
Language: English
ISBN13: 9781862076815
Availability: Online Distributors

Book Description (

Sofka Zinovieff had fallen in love with Greece as a student, but little suspected that years later she would, return for good with an expatriate Greek husband and two young daughters. This book is a wonderfully fresh, funny, and inquiring account of her first year as an Athenian. The whole family have to come to grips with their new life and identities—the children start school and tackle a new language, and Sofka's husband, Vassilis, comes home after half a lifetime away. Meanwhile, Sofka resolves to get to know her new city and become a Greek citizen, which turns out to be a process of Byzantine complexity. As the months go by, Sofka's discovers how memories of Athens' past haunt its present in its music, poetry, and history. She also learns about the difficult art of catching a taxi, the importance of smoking, the unimportance of time-keeping, and how to get your Christmas piglet cooked at the baker's.

Book Reviews

Don't miss this book! For many of us who are second-, third-, and fourth-generation descendants of Greek immigrants, Eurydice Street permits us an updated glimpse of the land of our origins and a vicarious journey with the author as she immerses herself in modern Athens. From the anthropological observations of her trained eyes, we learn about the full spectrum of Greek society and about significant influences on it. We see parts of ourselves in her penetrating reflections and writing. It's vivid, lively, and often funny--a skillful blend of autobiography with travel guide. Bravo!--Mary Papoutsy, HCS

“In the summer of 2001 Sofka Zinovieff accompanied her husband on a posting back to Athens. This book is both an account of her enthusiastic, if often balked, attempts to transform herself into a Greek, and a vivid evocation of a city in a chaotic ferment of change. In its lively and often trenchant blend of personal recollection and a depiction of an Athens of rowdy tavernas, resourceful refugees, majestic prostitutes, innumerable theatre companies, ferocious demonstrations and age-old customs affectionately preserved, this is a thoroughly engaging memoir.”—Francis King, Spectator

“Athens forms the background of Sofka’s writing debut, Eurydice Street, full of insight and humour. It is subtle, penetrating and written with disarming clarity. Sofka Zinovieff deserves a place on the shelves up there with Lawrence Durrell and Patrick Leigh Fermor.”—Cressida Connolly, Vogue

“A beguiling blend of autobiography and travel swirled into a portrait of a city and a meditation on Greekness’—Sara Wheeler, Daily Telegraph

“A guidebook of a kind, a guide to the Athens that is rather than the Athens that is trying to be. It is both a modest and magnificently well-judged book which anyone thinking of an Athenian trip ought to read. It is generous, appreciative as well as exasperated.”—Peter Strothard, Times Literary Supplement

“An account of an Englishwoman’s first year in Athens and a beguiling picture of ‘becoming Greek’”—Traveller Magazine

‘As an anthropologist, the author observes the process with an objective eye; as a wife and mother, it’s nothing less than total immersion. . . here is the inside track on what it means to be Greek: a lovely book, full of poetry, history and insights. Aspiring Shirley Valentines. . . shouldn’t leave home without it.”—Daily Mail

“This is an insightful account of a chaotic and exhilarating city, where the writer had personal as well as cultural obstacles to overcome.”—Daily Telegraph

“A witty and engaging account of life in Athens. . . at points and pitch of her narrative rises from that of personal memoir and catches something more elevated.”--Economist

About the Author

Sofka Zinovieff trained as an anthropologist and has worked as a journalist. She lives in Athens. This is her first book.

(Posting date 28 July 2008)

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