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The Greek House: The Story of a Painter's Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos Hardcover – June 11, 2013
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"Swiss painter Christian Brechneff's story—a beguiling mix of genres, from travelogue to art guide—is 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
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This isn't a book so much on Sifnos, Greece, as it is about his discovery, and coming to accept, his homosexuality. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Tea&BookLover
The main theme of discovering an untouristed Greek island in the 70's, buying a house and retuning every year for 30 years, is filled with charming, funny and poignant... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Deborah Smith
Dear Christian... I found my soul mate in your book! Everything you felt for this island I feel it every time I arrive with the boat to Kamares for 24 years now!!! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
i found the book while staying in the astra verina hotel (highly reccomended) in sifnos.
what a joy!
it is like having your personal guide to the island. Read more
A memoir by an artist that is more a portrait of a place than anything else. I found his descriptions of Sifnos vivid and compelling. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bradley
Does great job with scenic and character descriptions about " his" island and the scenes. Must be an enjoyable place.Published 17 months ago by JK
breezy summer read. what a wonderful island to have discovered before the tourists!Published on July 15, 2014 by Bet10
When I picked up The Greek House, last year, fresh back from Greece Christian's scrutiny over the bright Greek light, overpowering, forceful, almost harsh, stayed with me. Read morePublished on April 14, 2014 by Ioannis Pappos
Although 30 years apart, the magic of this island cannot be written so beautifully as in this book. Yet, only few can really understandPublished on March 22, 2014 by Doron Shefer