North of Ithaka by Eleni N. Gage
Reviewed by Becki Basley, Patron
Rating: 4 Stars
This book has some significance for me because of the interesting correlation with my own exposure to the book.
In this book, Eleni Gage goes back to a village in Greece where her Grandmother had lived and been executed during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940s. Eleni, who is named after her Grandmother goes back with the intention of rebuilding her Grandmothers house which had fallen into disrepair and during the time she is there she finds a connection with a part of herself she was barely aware she was missing. While many have given it unfavorable review, I think it's a great example of a journey of self discovery.
Her father Nick Gage had written the book about his mother's life, torture, and death. It was one of the first adult book my mom ever recommended I read and the book never really "left" me. Then recently at Killingly Library, I found the second book by Nick Gage "A place for Us" which talked about he and his sisters lives adjusting to life with their father in Worcester MA.
North of Ithaka brings the story full circle. Through experiencing her misadventures trying to park on a crowded street or stealing flowers on feast day, Nick's daughter joins the people of her grandmothers community and immerses herself in all the highjinks of close village life for over a year.
Her grandmother was betrayed by her fellow villagers who were jealous of her being married to an American. That jealousy cost the village not only the life of Eleni but almost all the children of Eleni's children, until Nick Gage's daughter Eleni goes back to start the healing process. In conclusion, I don't think you can fully appreciate this book unless you have read Eleni by Nick Gage and A Place for Us by Nick Gage but if you do, then this is a book you should read for ultimate closure.
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