Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $27.00
  • Save: $5.56 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Greek House: The Stor... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by giggil
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

The Greek House: The Story of a Painter's Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos Hardcover – June 11, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$21.44
$3.48 $0.01

The Numberlys Best Books of the Year So Far
$21.44 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Greek House: The Story of a Painter's Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos
  • +
  • Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table
Total price: $56.39
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Some people are born to love a location and never leave, deeming it the perfect spot for their senses and sensibilities. Others have to travel the world before they discover a place they can truly call home. So it was for artist Brechneff, who stumbled off the ferry onto the Greek island of Sifnos and fell into a sheltering oasis that would both nurture his developing artistic talents and define his emerging sexual identity. While the island’s natural beauty served as his creative muse, its local inhabitants welcomed him as one of their own. He was known to everyone as “Christo,” Swiss by birth, Greek by choice. Nosy crones fiercely monitored his comings and goings, gracious taverna owners generously poured his retsina, and a capable and wily contractor helped him build the hilltop house of his dreams. Describing his 30-year love affair with the island and its people, Brechneff paints a portrait as vivid and captivating as anything he ever committed to canvas. --Carol Haggas

Review

"After reading The Greek House by the painter Christian Brechneff . . . I wanted to drop everything and go to Sifnos, the rocky island in the Aegean Sea lovingly portrayed in his memoir." —Steven Kurutz, The New York Times 

"Swiss painter Christian Brechneff's storya beguiling mix of genres, from travelogue to art guideis the next best thing to actually going to a Greek island." —Richard Horan, The Christian Science Monitor

"In this enjoyable memoir/travelogue, Christian Brechneff, a young artist, spends several idyllic years on the Greek island of Sifnos . . . Brechneff provides a stirring portrait of his magical experiences in this sexually charged island atmosphere . . . The stories are all illuminating, offering insights on human nature and finding a sense of belonging. The book might even send readers to Sifnos in search of their own Greek fantasy." —Gary M. Kramer, Instinct

"This enchanting memoir by Swiss-born painter Brechneff illuminates the simple beauty of a remote Greek island where the painter found solace over a 35 year career . . . Brechneff's narrative is an unadorned yet sensuous tribute to the adopted land and people that inspired his work." —Publishers Weekly

"Punctuated by spare, evocative sketches—seascapes, landscapes, portraits—[The Greek House], written with Brechneff’s partner, Lovejoy, is no mere travelogue of an idyllic retreat . . . The author’s alluring narrative combines erotic liaisons with vivid portraits of islanders and visitors . . . his candor is winning, and hard to resist, as we follow his growth from naïve young man to worldly, accomplished adult." Kirkus Reviews

"Brechneff paints a portrait as vivid and captivating as anything he ever committed to canvas."
—Carol Haggas, Booklist
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374166714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374166717
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know what I was expecting when I purchased the book, but I was eager to read it as I had just returned home from an 8-day holiday on the island of Sifnos. It was my first trip to Greece, and Sifnos overwhelmed my senses the entire time I was there and it continues to haunt my dreams. Much more than a travelogue or memoir, Christian Brechneff's "The Greek House" is more a coming-of-age story. I was immediately hooked in the first few pages, when Christian's goal of going to the island of Sími was shattered by a travel agent in Athens. She poured ice water on his dream of going to remote Sími and insisted that Sifnos was the island for him. Thus a door opened to a world that Christian did not then know existed, and upon passing through that door it would forever change his life.

Back in the early 70s there were really no tourists visiting Sifnos, only a small number of adventurous travelers like himself as tourism hadn't yet reached the island's shores. I loved reading about his early impressions of the island, for back then Sifnos was far more remote than it is today. It is obvious that Christian is an artist as his writing captures the colors, the light, the sexuality, and the primitivism of Sifnos that I got a brief taste of in the days that I spent there. With an artist's eye, he paints a beautiful image of his first view of a mysterious island on a moonless night: "The night was black, no moon, the sea the darkest ink blue possible, the sky full of stars. The island, much bigger than I expected and even blacker than the sea, rose up over the water like an animal above us and seemed threatening.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I also bought and renovated a house on a Greek island, so this book speaks very personally to me. I arrived in the late 80's, already a much different time than when Christos arrived. I,too, grew personally there, learned a new language, learned a new cuisine, learned new aesthetics. I did not arrive with sexual ambivalence, however!! My professional life had nothing to do with the island. I had amazing encounters with locals, Athenians and other foreigners. Like Christos I also had major disappointments in persons from each of these groups. I also encountered the Byzantine business of island bulding, plumbing, real estate and government issues, etc. Christos descibes all this so beautifully.. you, too will want to hop the next plane a plane (and boat) to one of these islands. The two things that distinguish Christos story are the tantalizing hints at sexual encounters and frustrations.He does capture the innate eroticism of the Greek islands. The writing is that of an artist, so is so much more lyrical and poetic than my own would be. His observations are also those of an artist.
Christos spent longer stays on Sifnos than I was able to stay on my island, and therefore, is better able to describe the daily routine of his village than I can of mine. He is capable od bringing tears to my eyes when he talks about finally leaving his Sifnos house. I know how he feels.
Despite my very personal affection for this book, I think it has tremendous general appeal. He portrays unforgettable characters, and unforgettable sites and sights. Let yourself be carried away by Christo.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So many things to recommend this memoir. The writing style, to begin with. Very down to earth, homey, recounting daily life on the island of Sifnos over many years and the changes, both good and bad that the inhabitants of the island live through. Great little character studies of many of the locals, their personalties, and quirks, and Brechneff's interaction with them.

While the author doesn't write much about his art, or that of his longtime partner, when you go on google images, it's a pleasure to find out what accomplished artists both he and Tim are, and how different their styles are.

The difficulties Brechneff encounters in dealing with getting a house up and going on a Greek isle are very similar to what many ex pats go through when they decide to pull up stakes and move to some exotic location. The Brits are infamous for this sort of thing, and of course, half the population of Texas, who own a chunk of land on Riotan!

Probably the best part of the book is the ending, where Brechneff poetically puts his experience on Sifnos all together, and has some philosophical insights on his experiences, his feelings, and what it all means to his life.

All in all, a very well written and insightful memoir of and interesting and talented artist.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
For me the book definitely got better as Christian gets older. He starts out young (emotionally), grows up and matures, becoming more insightful, both of others -- and importantly for my enjoyment of the story -- of himself. I found the ending chapters virtually profound, with gifts of wisdom that stopped my reading and started me thinking how they applied to my life. Fascinating life journey.

Truth in 'advertising.' The authors are friends of dear friend of my husband and mine. The book was a gift from Christian and Tim when they came to our boat last week and we met them for a second time (the first years ago). A gift indeed -- with great staying power.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Greek House: The Story of a Painter's Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Greek House: The Story of a Painter's Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos