By Harry Eyres, 14 AUG 2004
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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. The author 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, the author 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. Eurydice Street has been translated into Dutch, Greek and Turkish.