Part three of a trilogy of memoirs spanning not only almost forty years of visiting Greece, but also five years of living there. As with the first two books in the "Ramblings" series, this is packed with laughs and even a few tears as the reader is taken on the usual roller coaster ride through the author's amazing experiences of the sunshine country.
John Manuel's website: http://johnphilipmanuel.wix.com/works
John Manuel has lived on the island of 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
John Manuel now lives with his wife Yvonne [Maria to her Greek friends] in the south of the island of Rhodes and enjoys the outdoors, writing and interacting with travellers and tourists. He is a self-confessed "Mac-anorak" and also loves blues, folk, reggae and progressive rock music. He also fancies himself as a bit of a Greek dancer. His wife, though, tends to disagree.
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."
In early 2013 John Manuel's first novel "The View From Kleoboulos" became available on Amazon as both a paperback and a Kindle download. The book's title refers to an ancient tomb situated on the headland across the bay from the beautiful village of Lindos on the Greek island of Rhodes. The tomb plays a significant role in the outworking of the events in the story.
The author himself is a Thomas Hardy fan and likes to feel that the book could best be described as "21st century Hardy", since the story is a very human one of misunderstandings and their consequences, which include heartbreak and tragedy. It's a tale in which the reader will hopefully engage with the main characters, all of whom are like the little humans that the ancient Greek Gods would play with at whim. The plight of the "human condition" and how it can defeat people who try to make something of their lives ought to strike a chord with one and all. The book's many twists will also keep the reader guessing right until the final few pages.