Swell: Book summary and reviews of Swell by Ioanna Karystiani

Swell

By Ioanna Karystiani

Swell
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2010,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

The moment of reckoning has come for Captain Mitsos Avgustìs. After twelve years at sea it is time to go home to the Island on which he was born: home to his wife Flora, his two daughters, his son, a granddaughter he has never met, and Litsa, his lover from all those years ago; a modern-day Penelope awaiting the return of her Ulysses.

It will take all Avgustìs's courage and strength to face the squalls and storms on land after a lifetime at sea - and all the while, he must resist the ocean's siren song bidding him return, tempting him back to the cargo vessel, the Athos III, that he so reluctantly left. It is there that his demons lurk, there that his terrible secrets are buried, there that his true home lies. Statuesque like Poseidon, gruff yet tender, a true legend of the seven seas, Avgustìs will learn that no matter how many or how varied one's experiences of life have been, there is always something new to learn.

And the price of learning certain lessons so late in life can be terribly steep. He will seek comfort in the gentle rolling of the ocean's swell and the silent currents that have healed sailors' wounds since time immemorial. A sweeping saga about love and hope set in modern-day Greece, Swell is Karistiani's most moving and gripping novel yet.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"An exciting and colorful ride populated with a host of memorable characters, Karystiani's latest is both sweeping and efficient, except for a distracting tendency to tackle too much in one sentence." - Publishers Weekly

"Essential for fans of Greek literature, classic or modern, and recommended for most readers of literary fiction." - Library Journal

"A poignant, moving novel about aging." - Kirkus Reviews

"Karystiani movingly pays homage to the sea and those who live from it." - La Repubblica (Italy)

"This book, which envelops the reader in an atmosphere that is profoundly Hellenic, was born from sea stories born on the islands of Andros, Tinos, Cephalonia, and Corfu; Karystiani has re-elaborated them in a style that is limpid, lyrical, and richly suggestive."- Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy)

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Ioanna Karystiani is the author of three novels, including The Jasmine Isle (Europa Editions 2006), a collection of short stories, and the screenplays for The Brides, directed by Pandelis Vulgaris and produced by Martin Scorsese, and Estrella mi vida, directed by Costa Gavras. She was awarded the Greek state prize and the Athenian Academy prize for her first novel, and the Diavaso literature prize for her second. Swell was given the National Award for the best Greek novel of 2007 when it was published. She lives in Athens.

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