A humorous yet heartfelt telling of an expat’s travels through unsettled, anarchic Greece, conveying the universal disenchantment at the loss of reason in the very place democracy was born, and how this has affected travellers and locals alike. Richly told and explored characters, intimate rendezvous and lively dialogue. A piquant story not overshadowed by the tone of sincere admiration for a world during a defining point in history, brilliantly and faithfully illustrated and brought to life through the author. Told from an endearing personal account that is both salacious and poignant.
This is an intriguing development in the author’s oeuvre. It is not quite travel fiction in the sense that it is strictly about travel. Rather, the sites, destinations and intimate yet simultaneously unfamiliar settings act as a peripheral counterpoint to the story. And that story seems to be about one’s identity through heritage, or lack thereof.
The presence of little-known Anthony Burgess pseudonym Joseph Kell, having previously appeared in Asprey’s Red Hills of Africa, adds not only a touch of literary nostalgia but also the kind of historical experimentation that provides depth to an otherwise light-hearted work. The lead character, Angelique, may not be as developed as the meticulous storyline is, yet the breadth of detail in each other facet of the story covers it nicely. Just like Sonny’s Guerrillas, Asprey injects stories of political upheaval to give the work a sinister edge.
Like Asprey’s previous work, the story exists as an amorous example of literary foreplay, with undercurrents of sexual frustration and playful amateurism. As many novellas do, I am left waiting for more, though am given a refreshing taste of ambiguity that sates my curiosity. The work, like Angelique’s ultimate grasp of her history, is somewhat incomplete though satisfying at the same time.