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Falling for Icarus: A Journey Among the Cretans [Paperback]

Rory MacLean
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

31 Oct 2011
On a windy spring morning in an ancient Cretan village, Rory MacLean fell to earth. His mother had died a few months earlier and a single obsession had risen from his grief: the notion to build a feather-light flying machine. And so, on the island where Daedalus and Icarus had made mankind's maiden flight, MacLean journeyed back to beginnings, back into the Greek myths, and - with the help of his Cretan neighbours and plenty of wine - built a plane and tried to fly. 'Falling for Icarus' is at once a meditation on love, a celebration of the passion for flight and an hilarious, vivid portrait of a village. Its generous and exhilarating characters - Yioryio, the irrepressible cafe owner, dreamy, dying Aphrodite and divine Apostoli, would-be pilot and Greek god in a golden flying suit - restore MacLean's faith in life. Through them, he tells a soaring, moving story about how a dream can transform sadness. Reviews: 'The heart-warming evocation of one man's loving obsession: lyrical, funny, compassionate' - Colin Thubron; 'Touching, funny and informative… MacLean is a wonderfully deft writer' - The Sunday Telegraph; 'An intimate portrait of modern, rural, unheroic but still passionate Crete' - Sunday Times; 'Anyone who loves Crete should enjoy this book. And anyone who does not love Crete is only half alive' - William Palmer, Literary Review; 'A marvellously compelling story by any standards… destined to become a classic' - The Scotsman; 'Unbridled humour, suspense… [characters] spring from the page as if from myth' - Scotland on Sunday

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tauris Parke Paperbacks; New edition (31 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848859562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848859562
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rory MacLean is one of Britain's most expressive and adventurous travel writers. His ten books, including UK best-sellers 'Stalin's Nose' and 'Under the Dragon', have challenged and invigorated creative non-fiction writing, and - according to the late John Fowles - are among works that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England as well as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary prize. He has written and presented over 50 BBC radio programmes and worked on movies with Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Rory divides his time between Berlin, London and Dorset.

http://www.rorymaclean.com

Product Description

Review

'A book that mixes lyricism with humour and compassion... MacLean's writing is at once whismical and serious, funny and painful...an intimate portrait of the sort of community we might not otherwise have encountered outside fiction' --Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

'Touching, fresh and extremely funny. MacLean's prose moves elegantly from the elegiac to the ironic, from the sad to the grotesque or comic. A triumph.' --The Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

'An extraordinary work, curious and entertaining, tantalizing, often moving and above all entirely original - like everything MacLean writes, it's in a genre of its own' --Jan Morris

'a remarkable book... real and genuinely exciting.' --Guardian

'An extraordinary work, curious and entertaining, tantalizing, often moving and above all entirely original - like everything MacLean writes, it's in a genre of its own' --Jan Morris

About the Author

Rory MacLean is a writer, broadcaster, blogger and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His nine books, including UK best-sellers 'Stalin's Nose' and 'Under the Dragon', have challenged and invigorated travel writing, and - according to the late John Fowles - are among works that 'marvellously explain why literature still lives'. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England as well as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He has written and presented over 50 BBC radio programmes and worked on movies with Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie. Born in Canada and resident for many years in Britain, Rory now divides his time between London and Berlin. 'Rory MacLean is one of the most strikingly original and talented travel writers of our generation.' - Katie Hickman; Other books by Rory MacLean: Stalin's Nose, The Oatmeal Ark, Under the Dragon, Next Exit Magic Kingdom, Magic Bus, Missing Lives (with Nick Danziger), Gift of Time; www.rorymaclean.com

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful ! 19 May 2004
Format:Hardcover
Falling for Icarus may well, when it comes out in paperback, soon find itself progressing from cult to major success in a very short time. Why? Well this is that real modern rarity, a travel book that is original without being ridiculously contrived, yet from the reviews you might think that it was!
Several years ago, confused after the death his mother, the author took himself off to Crete and there - in the land if Icarus and Daedalus - set about fulfilling a life's dream; to construct and fly his own airplane.
This is something of a beguiling story. MacLean mixes the eccentric story of the airplane - a task simply accepted as quite natural by the locals - with insights into the history of Crete, accounts of the myths of the island and some loving portraits of the locals of the village in which he stayed and of the others that helped him along the way.
For those who love travel literature there is lots to admire about this book. While it isn't in the same studious and authoritative league as Leigh Fermor there is much here to admire, all written in an easy and entertaining style. This has more substance than, say, a Bill Bryson book.
MacLean makes you really feel for the characters that inhabit his little bit of Crete not least because he mixes humour with sadness and heartache with great effect.
This could be the next Captain Correlli's Mandolin - though please, please do not let that put you off. Just make sure you read it early and enjoy spreading the word!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2004 2 Aug 2004
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll be surprised and delighted if I read anything this year to deprive this title of my personal best book of the year award. Fascinating on Crete and the Cretans and casting a wider light on life it is touching, humourous, insightful and gripping. In short buy it! You won't be disappointed.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving 30 July 2005
Format:Hardcover
I read this book whilst in Crete this year and found it one of the best books I have read in a long time. I read Stalins Nose last year and found it funny and informative, this book on the other hand was not only funny and very similar to my experiences with Cretans, but it was also very moving and I must admit, brought a tear to my eyes when I finished it.Any book that can do that, has to be ranked, at least in my view a classic. Read it and enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 23 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
A wonderful book. The story of the author's quest to build a plane in Crete following the death of his mother. It is a joy to read and captures Greece & the Greeks at their best.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Strange... 27 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
I didn't enjoy this book at all, confusing, rambling, unclear. The author seems to be suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress at the death of his mother and dragged his poor wife off to a foreign country to try and build a flying machine...what this chap needed was a good doctor, not a trip to Crete
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