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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Garden in Greece
The author - in search of some stability in her life - applied for a job as a gardener in Greece on a hillside garden. She felt she had never really stuck at anything for very long and this job - limited to a year - would be a good test of her ability to see something through to a conclusion and acquire some gardening experience as well.

If you want a...
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 by Damaskcat

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is not a factual account
"Talking to Zeus" was written by Jane as fiction. It is true that she spent 10 months working as a garden assistant in a Greek garden but she created fictional characters and events for her book. The publishers decided that it would sell better as a factual account of her year in Greece and would not publish it as a work of fiction. It's a great pity as it paints a very...
Published 17 months ago by Davina Michaelides


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Garden in Greece, 26 Jun. 2011
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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The author - in search of some stability in her life - applied for a job as a gardener in Greece on a hillside garden. She felt she had never really stuck at anything for very long and this job - limited to a year - would be a good test of her ability to see something through to a conclusion and acquire some gardening experience as well.

If you want a travelogue of Greece then this book is not for you. But if you want a book which details everyday troubles and triumphs in cultivating a garden with next to no water then you will enjoy `Talking to Zeus'. The author nearly turns tail and flees when she sees her living accommodation - nicknamed Alcatraz - and occupied by a stuffed lion called Zeus. But she forces herself to day and eventually is glad she did. Joy - her `employer' - seems eccentric and a tyrant at first but she soon grows on the reader as she did on the author.

The book is full of characters - the neighbours Charles and Rachel and Pavlos not to speak of the Neanderthal immediately next door who is strongly suspected of drilling an illegal bore hole for water and thus damaging the garden. The house in which Joy lives is full of treasures as well as animals - Winston, a small dog with attitude; and Titan a large dog who likes having his tummy tickled; Wizard - a macaw who is allowed a free run of the house; and lastly Orwell the cat who takes up residence with the author.

This is a book about life and gardening and how the author found peace and stability and realised that certain things are important - the volcano sunrise, a plant flowering for the first time, spring after snow in winter; as well as simple enjoyment with friends of good food and drink - most notably ouzo. I enjoyed this book even though I am not a gardener as it says just as much about life as it does about gardening.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gardening with Ouzo, 9 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
A very well written book which will appeal to those who enjoy travel literature, horticulture or just a good read. I haven't been able to put this book down and feel I can envisage the garden and the characters, such is the descriptivness.

As a grecophile and a keen gardener I am delighted by the horticultural content and the portrayal of the Greek ambience combined with good old ex pat eccentricity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 29 Aug. 2012
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Mr. K. A. Turner "Kevin T" (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
I ordered four books to take away on holiday with me to The Peleponnese area of Greece. This was the third book I read from the four, the others being In the Dolphin's Wake: Cocktails, Calamities and Caiques in the Greek Islands by Harry Bucknall; The House on Paradise Street by Sofka Zinovieff and Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens also by Sofka Zinovieff, which I have yet to read.

The House on Paradise Street is a great book and I thoroughly expected that that would be the highlight of my holiday reading. However, although "Talking to Zeus" is a less serious book in many respects, it is not at all frivolous and it really was "unputdownable" as they say.

Now I am looking for a year in a Greek garden to find my soul!

A lovely book, with great characters and much to learn from Jane and Joy bells. A really wonderful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting & Humorous., 16 Dec. 2012
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This is an enchanting read from cover to cover. It is also humorous and has a great deal to say about plants and flowers that grow in this Helikion Garden, outside Athens. The author secures an internship at this organic garden which is run by a rather eccentric and redoubtable English lady called Joy. Wonderful read and a book that once picked up is hard to put down. A book that I think everyone could enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn In, 19 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
Right from page one I was drawn into the world of Jane Shaw. She brings the characters and scenery to life, making you feel that you are there beside her, feeling her anguish, discomfort, happiness and joy. A cracking read and a book that is well worth the money. If Jane finds she doesn't have a future in horticulture, she will certainly have a future as a writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a treat, 16 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
this is a different book about greece. it is at times sensitive and moving.it is not sensational or thrilling. it is in a catogory of its own and a very pleasant read indeed
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
Anyone who loves Greece or gardening should thoroughly enjoy this lovely book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Delightful..., 19 May 2011
I love Greece, but hate gardening so I thought I might struggle a little with this book. However, within a few pages I was there with these characters, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying and often drinking ouzo in the warm night air. The noises, the smells and even the plants jumped out at me. I almost felt stirred to pick up a bag of compost and start planting. A real must for all Grecophiles and gardeners. An easy read, with a real 'feel good' factor.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, great story, 20 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
I'm glad this book is getting such good reviews because it deserves it. I have read so many of these travel-type books in the last year, some of them deserved their high rating on Amazon but quite a few others didn't. This one was a refreshing change; a joy to read, very well-written and with a lovely story. I hope the author writes another book - I would certainly buy it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Debut, 11 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden (Paperback)
I stumbled across this book when I was searching for a general book about garden design. To be honest, I was a little put off by the cover and the back cover blurb - to my mind they promised a generic Greek holiday read. But I read a few reviews and bought it. And I'm incredibly glad that I did. The reality is a beautifully told story of the author's year working in a tough, hillside garden in Greece, under the whip of the garden's endlessly contrasting caretaker, Joy. The book is told in a series of detailed episodes that span the year. Whole evenings are recounted in such detail that one imagines the author running off every few minutes to scribble in a diary. However the author achieves this, it makes for a wonderfully immersive experience. My only regret is that I never quite saw the garden in the same detail and found myself longing for a little more description - and pictures! I have hunted on the internet for some images, but found next to nothing. If the author reads this, please can she build a website (photium is a great platform) and put up some pics!!! But this is only a small quibble in what is a fabulous debut, which kept me hooked and which I now find myself replaying in my mind. The best book about nature I have read since Kathleen Jamie's Sightlines. Jane Shaw is some talent. This book deserves to go big.
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Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden
Talking to Zeus: My Year in a Greek Garden by Jane Shaw (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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