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Description - A House in Corfu by Emma Tennant

A House in Corfu is the story of one of the most beautiful places on earth, still astonishingly unspoilt, on the west coast of Corfu. In the early 1960s, Emma Tennant's parents, on a cruise, spotted a magical bay and decided to build a house there. This book is the story of that house, Rovinia, set in 42 hectares of land above the bay where legend has it Ulysses was shipwrecked and found by Nausicaa, daughter of King Alcinous. It is also the story of the people who have been at Rovinia since the feast in the grove at the time of putting on the roof - Maria, a miraculous cook and the presiding spirit of the house, and her husband Thodoros - and of the inhabitants of the local village, high on the hill above the bay. Full of colour and contrast, A House in Corfu shows the huge changes in island life since the time of the building of the house, and celebrates, equally, the joy of belonging to a timeless world; the world of vine, olive and sea.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099422532
ISBN-10: 0099422530
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 6-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - A House in Corfu by Emma Tennant

UK Kirkus Review » Greece cast its sudden spell on Emma Tennant's parents in the mid-1960s. As a result they decided to live their dream, bought land on the west coast of Corfu, and built a house there. This charming book is the record of a brave venture which was rewarded in all sorts of unexpected ways. Achieving the idyll they visualised was not without its difficulties: apart from the idiosyncrasies of Greek builders, with their unique methods and flexible attitude to time, there was no electricity, no telephone, no proper road and extremely scarce water (an eccentric English diviner was called in at one stage), while difficulty of access and frequent bad weather often meant a frightening degree of isolation. But with quiet persistence and a certain insouciance of spirit the house, designed to blend with landscape and seascape, was built. Although it is called Rovinia, meaning ruin, it is still there, and still very much a home. The 1960s were a crucial time in Greece politically, economically and culturally, but Tennant's evocative writing shows the reader what it means to inhabit an ancient landscape and to become acquainted with a culture unchanged for hundreds of years. The author and her family attended christenings, engagements, weddings and funerals, all of which are lovingly and vividly described, as are the scents, sounds and sights of 'one of the most beautiful places on earth'. Tennant has a keen eye for specific personalities and for the quicksilver eccentricities of the rural Greek character. She is, however, careful to point out that Greece is a large place and one of infinite variety, rightly describing Corfu as being 'the extreme edge of the Latin world', with a history very different from that of, say, the Peloponnese. If you cannot live the Mediterranean dream, do the next best thing: read this delightful book. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Emma Tennant

Emma Tennant was born in London and spent her childhood in Scotland. Her most recent books include three volumes of memoirs, and a novel.

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