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Publishers Weekly: "An exciting and colorful ride"

Date: Nov 25 2009

Novelist and screenwriter Karystiani (The Jasmine Isle) won the 2007 National Book Award for best Greek novel with this book, centered around a secretly blind sea captain “in his damned dotage,” Mitsos Avgoustis. Karystiani celebrates Mitsos's epic 58-year devotion to the merchant shipping industry and the ship he helms, the Athos III, but also exposes Mitsos's heartbreak: a bitter, neglected wife, Lola; three estranged children and one grandchild (in the habit of asking if she still has a grandfather); and a pining lover, Litsa, left “on ice” for 35 years. When ownership of the Athos III passes to a “useless scoundrel,” Mitsos finds his loyal crew driven away, his retirement imminent, and his replacement a cheaper, more tractable seaman. In the ensuing battle of wills, Mitsos continues sailing and soliciting cargoes, while resentful Lola conspires with her 22-year-old son, “wounded and enraged but harmless” Andonis, to bring the captain back to Pireas. An exciting and colorful ride populated with a host of memorable characters, Karystiani's latest is both sweeping and efficient, except for a distracting tendency to tackle too much in one sentence.