The Blurb (from Goodreads):
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 bakers.
I’ve spent the past few years writing a book set in Crete during World War II. As part of my immersive research process, I have been reading as many books about Greece that I could lay my hands on. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I enjoyed it hugely. Sofka Zinovieff married a Greek and moved with him to Athens with their two young daughters. She wants to learn as much about Greek culture, history and way of life as she can, even while despairing of some of the country’s eccentricities – the labyrinthine bureaucratic system, the peculiar hold that religion has on the every day, the lack of punctuality, and so on. She has an engaging writing style, a journalist’s eye for what makes a good story, and an anthropologist’s insight into culture and behaviour. And I always enjoy books about people who move to live somewhere different in the world. I can live vicariously through them!
You might also like to read my review of Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler: