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Paperback Crete Book

ISBN: 0792255585

ISBN13: 9780792255581


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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Booker Prizewinning novelist Unsworth (Sacred Hunger, etc.) travels with his wife to the ancient island of Crete, where, according to the Greeks, "everything began." The island's history is gruesome due to centuries of occupation by Venetian, German and Turkish conquerors, so Crete can "sometimes seem a patchwork of stories, from primal myth to heroic legend, to the embroideries of local gossip." Just as the "Cretans love stories," so does Unsworth,...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings


I was surprised and pleased to find a new Unsworth book- particularly since I am planning a trip to Greece this summer. I have perused several travel guides, but this book stands out, despite its brevity (or perhaps on account of it). Unsworth's glimpse at Crete is by no means comprehensive, but fills in the gaps that he proposes- What kind of place Crete is, some interesting things to see there, and an outline of his tour with his wife Aira. His style is unashamedly first-person reflective, and he gives a fair and balanced account of the island which becomes saturated by tourists each summer. Barry has whet my appetite for visiting this island without overwhelming me with his own ideas and opinions. Do not look for a detailed history; instead look for an impressionistic accounting of the caves, gorges, churches and urban labyrinths of Crete. Fans of Unsworth and thoughtful travellers will enjoy this novella immensely.

Travel Log

I had thought that the advent of film and television had banished this genre from the book stores. After all, why read about a place when you can turn on the travel channel and see it in living color? Well, for one reason, it's reading! But, I'll try not to climb up on my soapbox. Unsworth does a wonderful job of presenting a textual picture of the people, culture and history of this cradle of civilization. His insights on travels to the scenic countryside, tourist Mecas and ruins of past civilizations on this Mediterranean island provide the reader with more than just pictures; he provides us with the flavors and smells, awakening the senses of our imagination more than any passive media presentation. The bottom line is that this is not an exhaustive treatment of the history, geography or culture of Crete, nor is it a picture book; it is a throwback to a time when travel was not the commodity of the everyday man, a time when we lived vicariously through the likes of Hemmingway and Stevenson. If all you want is to see beautiful scenery, there are any number of picture books or web sites to entertain you, but if you want to experience Crete without the trip, you will want to read this book. P-)
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