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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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The Summer of My Greek Taverna: A Memoir Paperback – June 6, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this feast for all senses, Stone brings readers into the tiny Greek island world of Patmos in a prose that feels as languid as the pace of the Patmian people. At 33, Stone, a Broadway stage manager, puts $10,000 of an inheritance in the stock market and leaves New York for what he intends to be a five-month stay in Greece, where he would fulfill his dream of writing a novel. But five months quickly turns into love, marriage, two children and several years when he meets Danielle, a 23-year-old French painter. After moving to Rethymnon, Stone teaches English as a second language while Danielle continues to paint until an old Patmian friend, Theologos, phones and invites Stone to become his partner for the summer in his beach taverna, The Beautiful Helen. Leaping at the opportunity, Stone, and a very reluctant Danielle, pack up their two children, a Cuisinart and Stone's many recipes, and return to the island where they fell in love and where they would soon learn the hard lessons that come with Greek traditions, bargaining, the ever-present Evil Eye, and their naive trust in Theologos, known to all as O Lados, "the oily one." This nicely told memoir and travelogue is interspersed with Stone's recipes, sensual descriptions of food and place, and the love of his wife and children.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Patmos, the small Greek island where St. John lived and wrote, is the setting of this brief but charming autobiographical travelog with recipes. Stone (Greece: An Illustrated History) is in love with Patmos, most of the people who live there, and especially his French-born wife, Danielle, whom he met and married there. One summer, when asked to take over a friend's restaurant at the height of the summer tourist season, Stone was able to turn his cooking avocation into a real job. In this bittersweet memoir, he recounts the reality of working from early in the morning to late at night, with almost no time for friends and family which ultimately forced him to reconsider the allure of his dream island and start thinking about how to live his life in the future. Stone also relates the seesawing friendship between himself and the taverna owner, an old friend who cheated him of thousands of dollars. Although written in the genre of Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes, this down-to-earth travelog certainly does not present a vacation world viewed through rose-colored glasses. Recommended for larger travel as well as cooking collections. Olga B. Wise, Compaq Computer Corp., Austin, TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Memoir
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (June 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074324771X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743247719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a Greek-American who was born, and lives in the US, but also lived in Greece for 12 years, I am always very interested in reading the experiences of expatriates, especially those from the US. I took some time to read through the other reviews here, especially focusing on the ones with negative things to say. I must say this, because I like to keep my reviews brief: Tom Stone did not produce the perfect book here, nor do I think we should expect that from him---what he did do was absolutely capture both the Greek mentality and spirit, the beauty of the land and its culture, and the very difficult divide in which foreigners who live in Greece full-time find themselves. I highly recommend this book not just for Greek diaspora who want to wax nostalgic of the mother country, but for ANY American heading over for a visit, if not a longer stay. I recently recommended this book to two proteges of mine who were headed to Greece for a short stay, and a semester abroad respectively, and both told me upon their returns that it was a priceless learning tool which enhanced their visits, as well as a very enjoyable read. I cant think of any higher recommendation than that of didacticism and real world, in-country experience. Well done, Mr Stone!
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By A Customer on August 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I approached this book on a travel writing level where you would read Lawrense Durrell and Henry Miller books about Greece. I did experience this in addition to a great story about finding (and losing) your life-long dreams.
As recorded in the brief summary above, the book follows the author's adventure one summer trying to run a Greek taverna on the Agean island of Patmos. The book recounts how the author set up shop, ran it daily with his dubious Greek partner, and finally discovered what his dream really meant to him. The narrative seems to take place before Patmos become a hot tourist location (before 1990), yet Tom Stone doesn't reveal any dates. The author's page revelas that Tom no longer lives in Greece, but in Southern California.
The book is light reading (probably take 2 hours of reading...after all it is only 199 pages) -- it includes with some folklore about the island (much revolving around St. John's visit in the first century). The recipies printed in the appendix are a nice touch, especially for those wanting to indulge in the culinary experience.
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Format: Hardcover
Stone's love story of running a Greek Taverna over the course of one summer is a gem. Rarely have I read a book that has engulfed me in its essence and put me in the middle of the narrative. I particularly took to the book because reading Stone's words I became completely engrossed with the many similarities I myself have encountered when spending my summers in Greece.
Stone's lush descriptions of the island of Patmos allow you to travel there instantly, him supplying you with the sights, sounds, and the smell of each moment in time. Paragraphs such as "There are places that seem to be waiting for you out there somewhere, like unmet lovers, and when (and if) you come upon them, you know, instantly and unquestioningly, that they are the ones. It is as if, far back in time, there had been an intimate connection to that very spot or person. So it was with Livadi. Even from as far away as the deck of the Mimeka, it had been love at first sight. I knew that there I would find not simply a house to rent but a place to belong to. Like Odysseus, I felt as if I were coming home to Ithaca after a long voyage through the troubled waters of foreign lands (including my birthplace) whose languages I had never really understood. [...] And it still amazes me to think that at that very moment, on another part of Patmos, in a little house on a cove that I had passed on the road to Livadi, the future mother of my children was sittting on her terrace pondering, as I was, what she was really going to do with her life now that she had finally gotten here."
Words like these are simply candy for the eyes and the heart. It allows you to be captured by the warmth, and the true essence of the author's passion for life.
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Format: Paperback
Reading these little expat memoirs used to be a pleasure, but now there are so many self-congratulatory accounts that they've long since begun to pall. Greek Taverna is a welcome exception. Stone manages to convey the essence of Greek island life, geography, and ambience without attempting to convince the reader that life in those parts is idyllic and carefree. Indeed, Tom and his family encounter as many problems and stumbling blocks as they might have in NYC, as well as enjoying the beauty and simplicity (all is relative). Reading his experiences is as refreshing as a dip in the Aegean. Bravo to Tom Stone for his honesty, sense of humor, and willingness to remain in Greece despite the bursting of the bubble of his dream.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Philhellene hungry for true accounts of expat lives in Greece, and an expat myself living in Greece, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I struggled many times with its irrelevant details and sometimes boring passages, which caused me to put it down frequently.

Unless you know or like Patmos already, it's difficult to envision some landscapes because either the details provided were too limp or simply tried too hard to paint a picture in my head where my imagination might have done better with fewer but vivid descriptions.

I was also disappointed with simple editing/writing mistakes that Stone and his editor made such as using too many Greek words (spelled phonetically, not true to Greek) and then giving the English translation afterward. A person, like myself and many others, who know both Greek and English can find it annoying to have the same thing repeated twice. It's a beginner's mistake from Strunk and White's rules.

If I could get over the poor editing and lifeless passages, I found a gem of a story that could have shined brilliantly with the right organization, concise adjectives and characters that came more to life. I do admire Thoma for his motivation, intention and courage to make his dreams come true. I do believe he is a good storyteller, as the author says he is in the book. I do believe this could have been a great memoir.

Please don't hate me for writing this review, but I'm being honest by presenting the good and the bad. A better memoir is "The Sailor's Wife" by Helen Benedict or Katherine Kizlos' "The Olive Grove."
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