More About the Author
John Manuel's website: http://johnphilipmanuel.wix.com/works
John Manuel has lived on Rhodes since 2005. His Greek experience began after a chance meeting with a half-Greek girl in a bar in his home town of Bath, UK during the 1970's. What began as an antipathy developed into a tolerance and finally blossomed into a love for his mother-in-law's country. His visits to Greece [prior to moving there] have been myriad during the almost four decades of marriage, many having been made as family visits rather than as a tourist. This perspective gives him an understanding of the Greek psyche that shines through his insightful and frequently funny accounts about such visits, most of which feature in the first volume of his "Ramblings From Rhodes", FETA COMPLI!
John was a graphic designer in the UK for most of his career, his wife latterly becoming his partner in their business. His contributions to "GREECE" magazine in the UK were popular, but that excellent and much-missed publication met its end when the financial crash of 2008 led to a drying up of its main source of advertising income, Greek Real Estate Agents.
The four "Ramblings From Rhodes" books are personal, episodic accounts of all kinds of people, places and things that he's encountered and experienced in every corner of his adopted country, although the last two, "Tzatziki For You to Say" and "A Plethora of Posts" are mainly about daily life year-round on Rhodes. John's popular blog all about life on Rhodes is here: http://ramblingsfromrhodes.blogspot.com
Regarding his "memoir" books he says:
"I do not profess to be a literary genius. I don't have any delusions about creating a literary classic in travel writing. My books are snapshots. They're intended to give the reader a series of moments, glimpses perhaps, of the Greek experience from someone who's come to this country from a typical English background; someone who was fortunate enough to have met and married a girl whose heritage goes back to 1940s Athens, whose relatives even now enthrall and fascinate her inexperienced husband.
My books could well be described as photo albums in words: a day spent in an olive grove during December, becoming acquainted not simply with the brutality of the work that is the olive harvest, but with the mind of a Greek man who is of the land and of the fabric of rural Greece; an evening passed at a taverna under a sparkling Greek night sky with fascinating company, perhaps you get the picture.
I don't largely tell a chronological story, I give my reader a brief vacation. He or she will hopefully be both spurred to think about going to the place they've just read about, or to feel uplifted by a short tale of one person's experience of a culture and country that once was totally unknown to him, foreign in the essential sense of the word and yet has become as familiar as that favourite old cardigan, jacket or pair of slippers.
Don't read my work, my "Ramblings", expecting a thriller, a storyline, a novel or a moral. Read them to perhaps have a chuckle, or a glimpse into something and somewhere that broadens your own view of a country with a history and outlook on life that is quite unique on this diverse planet of ours.
Some travel books are crammed with dry history and facts about places. They read more like reference books and perhaps, if viewed as such, have their merits. I prefer my travel reading to connect to living people, to impart feelings and interaction among human beings as they encounter one another, often unexpectedly, yet the result being a new friendship formed, a new thing learned, a new experience gained.
I may never become a household name. Yet judging from most of the feedback which I receive from my readers the world over, I am connecting to something within them.
There can be no greater feeling of satisfaction for a writer."
John has also written three works of fiction, "The View From Keloboulos", "A Brief Moment of Sunshine" and new in 2015 "Eve of Deconstruction."
He also runs a reading group on Facebook for all lovers of things Greek, it's called "A Good Greek Read".