Jacques Lacarriere, ‘a devotee of Greece’

Jacques Lacarriere made his first trip to Greece in 1947, during the civil war, and his last visit to the land he loved so much was on September 4, when friends invited him to Tinos. Last Saturday, after a minor operation at a Paris hospital, Lacarriere died at the age of 79. He had expressed the wish to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the Aegean. An intellectual, translator and writer, he was a lifelong friend of Greece. The majority of his books were inspired by classical Greece and its myths and he also translated into French the work of many prominent contemporary Greek writers, among them George Seferis, Yiannis Ritsos, Stratis Tsirkas, Nikos Gatsos, Costas Tachtsis, Titos Patrikios and Andreas Frangias. Most of his books are available in Greek translation from Hadzinikoli publishers, the most popular of them being «L’Ete grec» («Greek Summer») and «Dictionnaire amoureux de la Grece» («The Erotic Dictionary of Greece»). A book of his interviews is due out shortly from the same publisher. «One of his latest plans was to write ‘The Erotic Dictionary of the Mediterranean,’» publisher Ioanna Hadzinikoli told Kathimerini. His most recent publication in Greece was in 2003, when Olkos publishers brought out his «Nicosia: The Dead Zone,» translated by Voula Louvrou. The author, accompanied by a soldier, had managed to visit the Green Line in Nicosia long before it was open to Greek and Turkish Cypriots. «I asked myself where I was exactly. It was a museum, but just what kind of museum? A museum of death? A botanical garden? A museum of toys? An architecture museum? It was all of those together and we can study many important things in ruins,» he said then in an interview with Kathimerini. Lacarriere lived at his family home in Burgundy with his second wife Silvia Lipa and their 15-year-old son. Commenting on the death of Lacarriere, Prime Mister Costas Karamanlis said: «Greece bids farewell to a true friend, a tireless ambassador for Greek culture around the world. Lacarriere incarnated the perennial Greek spirit in every aspect of his life. He was an ardent devotee of Greece.»