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The Cat of Portovecchio: Corfu Tales Paperback – 1 Oct 2007
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Subtitled 'Corfu Tales', the novel is set in a small coastal village called Portovecchio in the 1950s. It's a novel, but not in the traditional sense. The story is made up of short tales about the inhabitants of the village, but all linked together to create a story of a community. The main character is Louisa - a small girl whose mother has recently died, she lives now with her father Tony and his new wife Blossom in Portovechhio. The sense of Corfu is so wonderfully written, the characters are so lifelike and jump from the pages. The peasant-like Blossom with her bowed legs and big appetite, the wicked priest Father Anthony who is bad to the core, and innocent Theodora who is badly treated yet nursed with love by the women of the village. And in amongst these character is Mamee - the cat of the title. Abandoned by her owners, loved by Louisa, the little cat brings the villagers together, stealing food and causing a nuisance, but also protecting them and comforting them. It would have been so easy for this to be just another twee little story about the good old days, but instead Maria Strani-Potts has created an enchanting story about a community that has it's bad parts and lots of good parts. With a theme of traditonal greek cookery in each chapter too, this is a perfect read.
The author creates some unforgettable characters and situations that are still fresh in my mind after reading it several months ago. I'm living on the island now and recommend it to all my visitors and, they too, without fail, comment on how much they loved the book.
I can see the story as a film or television serial and, in my head, have already identified some of the actors who can play the leading roles.
It's hard to believe that the events Maria Strani-Potts describes are relatively recent in the grand scheme of things.
A must-read for anyone interested in Greece.
The Cat Of Portovecchio takes the reader into the lives of the inhabitants of a bustling Corfu fishing village. Starts with the introduction of Tony and his daughter Louisa. Every character has a story to tell,their lives intersect, intertwine, greek village life, celebrations, festivals, funerals, food. Mamee the Cat Of Portovecchio both loved and reviled by the villagers, she sees all, last few pages have you gripped to the very end. Hopefully a sequal will follow. Loved it.
A classic, authentic novel about life in Corfu fishing suburb in the 1950s, written in English by a Corfiot. Published in Australia to excellent reviews. Greek edition (Kedros) to be published in Spring 2011.
"Read it, it'll change your life and the way you love (and love) the Corfu idyll" (ISLAND).
"A relentless and seductive intelligence...never less than provocative. A pleasure to read and, even for Corfiots, an education" (The Anglo-Hellenic Review).
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