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Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; New edition edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862077509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862077508
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... a modest and a magnificently well-judged book, which anyone thinking of an Athenian trip ought to read." -- The Times Literary Supplement

"... a thoroughly engaging memoir." -- The Spectator

"A beguiling blend of autobiography and travel swirled into a portrait of a city and a meditation on Greekness." -- Daily Telegraph

“Amiable account of being a stranger in a strange land.” -- The New York Times Book Review

“More than travel writing, this is a story of finding home.” -- Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Rossen on August 27, 2006
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Greece is a country of extremes and exaggerated characters. So, it is not surprising that many non-Greek writers describing their experience of Greece and the Greek people have little difficulty telling picturesque anecdotes. Gerald Durrell's books and essays amuse the reader, thought Durrell's writing has a tendency to mock the Greeks from a position of presumed British cultural superiority; and in somewhat the same tradition we have John Mole's account (It's All Greek to Me). Lawrence Durrell (Prospero's Cell) just does not get it quite right; two and a half years and layers of literary pretensions are, respectively, too little and too much to do Corfu justice. Henry Miller (The Colossus of Maroussi) was overwhelmed by his experience, and the gushing metaphorical excess of his account tells us more about his emotional state then it does about the country. Greece seems to draw this kind of awe-struck reaction from Anglo-American travelers.

It is a refreshing change to encounter this book by Sofka Zinovieff who is enough of a foreigner to see things with a fresh eye, and yet enough of an insider to really understand what she sees. Her academic training enables her to penetrate the appearances of things, and to draw out the truths behind the Greeks' popular myths and definitions of themselves. To this she brings a wealth of anthropological, historical, sociological and political insight without converting this lovely light hearted and entertaining book into a studious tome. It is a wonderful account and strongly recommended.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By KC on March 14, 2008
An expat in Athens myself, I eagerly devour any accounts written by others in hopes I might find a kindred soul or nuggets of wisdom I've somehow overlooked. I did not find either in this book.

Consulting with other expats whose opinions I value, they concurred that this book was boring and the author used every opportunity to name drop or prove how connected she is, so I was shocked to find so many glowing reviews here. Everyone I know tried in vain to get through a chapter at a time, nodded off, then put this book down for good. That's what I did. The only person I met who liked this book is a trailing spouse of a wealthy Greek with children, much like the author who comes from a well-to-do family and is married to a diplomat. This is not how the majority of real people live in Athens or anywhere in Greece; this is an account of a privileged life in which the bureaucracy and infrastructure so ingrained in Greek society have been removed. People who believe this is a charming "slice of everyday life in Athens" or "spot on" are either people visiting Greece once a year or living in Greece as Greeks and/or rich.

I know how difficult it is to write a book and really wanted to like it, and I'm sure people will vote 'no' on whether this review was helpful to punish me, but I believe in being honest nevertheless. This was not a page turner and was sold, since I had no intention of ever picking it up again. Sorry!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Hager on January 1, 2011
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Eurydice Street is a beautifully written account of a British woman of Greek and Russian ancestry, who moves to Greece with her expatriate Greek husband and their two young daughters. As a trained anthropologist and a journalist, she reflects on her observations of present-day Greece. The family rents a maisonette on Eurydice Street in Vouliagmeni, a suburb of Athens. Written in first person, author Sofka Zinovieff transports her reader to Athens, vividly detailing the country's culture, her morals, religious holidays, ancient wars, Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, World War 11, the communist civil war, among other topics, perhaps more than a reader cares to read. However, it's a serendipitous way of learning the history and culture of a country that has been ravaged by wars and foreign invaders. Eurydice Street is more than a one woman's travelogue but a search into a country's psyche. This book is informational, at times amusing, and insightful; not a boring book, as one reviewer claimed. He was in the wrong genre. I recommend this book to any one who cares to learn about Greece, why the country is what it is today, and simply looking for a good read.

Pauline Hager, author
Memoirs of an American Housewife in Japan
Giorgi's Greek Tragedy
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The author, raised in Britian has married a Greek government employee and they move back to Athens with their two children. The book relates her experiences in her first year living in Greece. She had lived in Greece as a student years before so she had some idea of what the experience would bring. The story is set mainly in Athens but she does have sections on Greek villages and especially the affinity that Greeks have for their native villages. Using members of her husbands family to illustrate her story she brings alive the blood-spattered history of Greece since WWII. Using her own experience trying to gain Greek citizenship she tells of the difficulties working with Greek government employees. The relationship of Greeks to their Orthodox Church is described by looking at the religious holidays that are celebrated each year. The deeply negative feelings that Greeks have to the US and the UK are explained (in typical ugly American fashion I had no idea of the Greek feelings and the US actions that caused them). This is a highly readable book and in my opinion a must read. The stories the author tells are indelible in my mind. I am only sorry that this story ends in the late 1990's so I didn't get the author's take on present day Greek troubles. In looking for books to read about Greece I have stumbled on an excellent author you should read -Greek travel or not. I am looking forward to her next book, the fictional The House on Paradise Street. (Note Eurydice Street was a little hard to come by, I had to order at Amazon from a UK publisher but it was reasonably priced and came within a week.)
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