CULTURE

In a glance — reviews of new releases

New book blurbs are this accurate: «’The Greeks and the Sea’ is not a textbook or a travel guide. It is a reminder and celebration of that wonderful country and its heritage and people.» As indeed it is. Author D.E.R. Isitt has woven together selected texts, ancient and modern, illustrating them with evocative photographs by Kathy Mansfield and Tom Isitt. This charming anthology published by Erskine Press is built around the Greeks’ agelong association with the sea. The gods, the myths, the horses of Poseidon, halcyons, embarkations, landings and even landlubbers are all here in an engaging introduction to an ageless story. Pet care Mark Weinstein is carving out a niche for himself with his cute guides for children. His latest, published by Kedros, are guides to the care and feeding of pets – one for cats and one for dogs. Designed to look as if they were written – carefully corrected mistakes and all – and illustrated by children, the «You and Your Pet» books put a happy spin on some basic rules. In Weinstein’s world, pets and children look like partners as they go about the daily business of eating, getting clean, going for walks and sharing affection. Love lives recalled Journalist Dimitris Ghionis has had a huge success with his trilogy of short stories that brought to life the Greece of his youth in all its tenderness and harshness. His latest book, «Then What Happened?» (Kastaniotis), is short stories in the form of reminiscences about past loves shared by a handful of men aged 40-60. Chronologically, the tales move from a time when virginity was de rigueur for would-be brides down to the present day, when a daughter going out on a date snaps back at her mother for reminding her to use contraceptives: «Thanks a lot, Ma – like I didn’t know already.» Yet the sensibilities all seem to spring from the days when a rigid double standard set the tone in relations between men and women. Mendacity, oddly matched with a pervasive romanticism, is the keynote. The voices are barely differentiated, seeming to reflect a single consciousness.