Author(s): Sofka Zinovieff
'We gazed transfixed across the small, strangely tropical bay at the bottom of the hill, and the surrounding palm trees and sandy beaches. Beyond the bay was the wide expanse of the Saronic Gulf, with its distant traffic of boats leaving for the islands and returning to the port at Piraeus.'
This was Sofka Zinovieff's first sight of the view from Eurydice Street. It was so irresistible that she and her husband immediately knew that they would make their home there. Sofka 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 get 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 baker's.
"In 2001, Sofka Zinovieff accompanied her husband on a posting back to Athens. This book is both an account of her enthusiastic, if often balked, attempts to transform herself into a Greek, and a vivid evocation of a city in a chaotic ferment of change. In its lively and often trenchant blend of personal recollection and a depiction of an Athens of rowdy tavernas, resourceful refugees, majestic prostitutes, innumerable theater companies, ferocious demonstrations, and age-old customs affectionately preserved, this is a thoroughly engaging memoir."
Sofka Zinovieff trained as an anthropologist and has worked as a journalist. She lives in Athens. This is her first book.