Part memoir, part love story, part wildly scenic travel piece, The Greek for Love is every bit as sumptuous as its setting
The two-line ad in the Sunday Times advertising Villa Parginos in Corfu conjured an image of long afternoons drinking wine on a marble patio shaded by a grape arbour, looking out over an impossibly blue Greek sea. Instead James Chatto and his wife Wendy got a little pink bungalow with linoleum, a buzzing fluorescent light and a patio separated from the village's main street by a wire fence.
Yet Corfu delivered so much more than their wildest fantasy had suggested. There was the intoxicating warmth of the sun, walks along sage-bordered byways, and swimming naked off an idyllic beach. There were olive trees that dropped their fruit into nets, as well as fresh apricots, grilled sardines, marinated lamb and long evenings of storytelling at the local taverna. The couple arrived as young tourists, new to each other and in love, and were captivated by the way the islanders embraced them. It was their deep connection to Corfu and its people that later sustained them through the darkest tragedy, just as it had carried them into the most wonderful love.
The Greek for Love is a voluptuous, sensual dive into Corfu food, drink, the appeal of exile, and the story of a ripening love affair. There is a strand of melancholy within this memoir, as there must be in writing that rings so resoundingly true. But this book leaves one, in the end, grinning like an idiot and envious of the descriptive skills of its author. A lovely book, and the finest sort of travel writing. - Kevin Patterson, author of COUNTRY OF COLD
James Chatto is a master storyteller . . . He navigates the subject of his own life with wit, grace and enough frankness to soften the heart of any sceptic . . . In Chatto we have a tour guide of inimitable perception and style. As with the food he so warmly describes throughout the book, we cannot help but devour his carefully constructed offering. - Toronto Star
A searing journal of grief and healing . . . a return journey to numbingly terrible events that began in love and ended in love. - Toronto Globe and Mail
'Engrossing . . . Combines sensual detail with an engaging, down-to-earth account . . . For anyone who's fantasized about running off to live on a Greek isle or any other idyllic spot abroad, this is a lovely way to do it vicariously.' - Maclean's (Canada)
Chatto has a keen awareness of the sensual . . . Chatto s prose exults in the sensory overload of life in Loutses . . . there is an optimistic sense of growth and regeneration - Quill & Quire
Inspiring - Greece magazine
This memoir will have you dreaming of idyllic beaches - Closer Magazine
Despite the tragedy, this is an optimistic book, the narrative skipping between past and present, and Chatto writing unsentimentally and lyrically about both Corfu and his relationship with his family' - Clover Stroud, Good Book Guide