CULTURE

Popular author now available in English

She came into the limelight as a singer, having completed studies at Athens Conservatory of Music. Taking part in popular music festivals in Greece and abroad, in which she won a number of prizes, she became known by just her first name, Yovanna. And after a full career in music, including participation in the Eurovision song contest and numerous recordings of her songs, this extraordinary woman turned her «voice» to another medium… the written word. Since 1986 when her first novel «Bye Now» appeared, Yovanna the singer has forged a second career as Yovanna the author. She writes popular fiction that appeals to a broad range of readers; her characters are people we can all identify with. And her work in this other voice has also been hugely popular. «Bye Now» was made into a movie and adapted for the theater. «Tinted Sun» became a serialized television drama. And 1998’s «Pathway to the South» has just been translated into English and released to the English-speaking public by Cosmos Publishing (www.greeceinprint.com). As is true of much of today’s fiction, this is not an easy story; contemporary lives aren’t easily wrought in all their complexity. Much like Anna Quindlen, Joanna Trollope or Anita Shreve, Yovanna is not afraid to take on challenging subjects. In «Pathway to the South,» the protagonist Zoe (which means «life,» ironically) has lost everything, husband, job, family ties – even her own child – and her last vestige of pride to a crippling addiction, heroin. But this is also the story of her return to life. When her mother wrests her child from her with «tough love,» Zoe takes a boat to Crete, finds a job working through her addiction in a greenhouse and slowly finds the friendship, support and love needed for her to return to her daughter. Yovanna cleverly juxtaposes her rich cast of characters’ foibles against one another, making us aware of their – and our – strengths, weaknesses and fixations. The skilled hand of translator Jane Nisselson Assimakopoulos has rendered Yovanna’s text into faultless, succinct, colloquial English, to the great relief of the reader, who wants to follow the story, not readjust to the translated rhythm of another language. The book also comes with a gift CD of Yovanna’s favorite songs.