The Jasmine Isle

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"Karystiani's The Jasmine Isle changes the way all of us see modern Greece."——Neue Zurcher Zeitung

A modern love story with the force of an ancient Greek tragedy. Set on the spectacular Cycladic island of Andros, The Jasmine Isle one of the finest literary achievements in contemporary Greek literature, recounts the story of the beautiful Orsa Saltaferos, sentenced to marry a man she doesn't love and to watch while the man she does love weds ...

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Overview

"Karystiani's The Jasmine Isle changes the way all of us see modern Greece."——Neue Zurcher Zeitung

A modern love story with the force of an ancient Greek tragedy. Set on the spectacular Cycladic island of Andros, The Jasmine Isle one of the finest literary achievements in contemporary Greek literature, recounts the story of the beautiful Orsa Saltaferos, sentenced to marry a man she doesn't love and to watch while the man she does love weds another.

Born on Crete, Ioanna Karystiani has written several novels and the screenplays for The Brides, directed by Pandelis Vulgaris and produced by Martin Scorsese, and Estrella mi vida, directed by Costa Gavras.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
An award-winning writer in her native Greece, Karystiani sets this tale of love, loss, and family troubles in her homeland during the first half of the 20th century. Her first work to be translated into English, the story takes place on the beautiful and serene Greek isle of Andros. The beauty of the island is juxtaposed against the tyrannical ways of Mina Saltaferou, the overbearing mother of two daughters of marriageable age who decides for them whom to marry regardless of their wishes. But readers soon realize that Mina's harshness and rigidity are just her way of taking charge-this need to be in control is caused by her longing for her absent husband. In fact, all of the women in the novel must deal with missing husbands and lovers, who are away on long sea voyages. Lush descriptions of the islands, the sea, and the budding and forbidden loves of Mina's daughters set the rich tone that is sure to entice readers. Recommended for libraries where novels set in foreign locales are popular.-Leann Restaino, Girard, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Grim yet gorgeous, here's a modern Greek tragedy about love foredoomed, family life as battlefield, the wisdom and wantonness of the human heart and the implacable finality of the hand of fate. Orsa and Mosca Saltaferou are sisters, but they're oil and water, night and day. And with this, her first novel to be translated into English, screenwriter Karystiani turns them loose to be buffeted by singularly harsh winds. Manipulating them, and, it appears, the very weather itself, is their mother Mina, a domestic despot and de facto empress of Andros, that most beautiful of Aegean isles. Mosca, "she of the irrepressible mouth first and foremost," is by three years the younger sibling, and she's Orsa's rival, a cool customer jealous of her elder's beauty, her romantic longing and her status as daddy's favorite. Said father, Savvas, a remote sea captain, is anxious but outwardly cold; we meet him first as he's transporting a corpse across the briny deep. No captain at home, Savvas doesn't meddle when Mina contrives the most meddlesome of her plots: to deny Orsa a future with the man she truly loves; betroth her to Mina's choice; and then relish the girl's heartache when her banished lover weds another. By the novel's resolution, Mosca and Orsa are reconciled, but not after sharing devastating secrets of passion gone wrong. The author's style and poetic prose is at turns lapidary and lyrical. At one point she compares a floor to "taut-stretched cheesecloth [that] dripped downstairs' sounds."Homeric intensity visited on intimate truths.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933372105
  • Publisher: Europa Editions, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/15/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Ioanna Karystiani was born on the island of Crete. Her literary debut came with the collection of short stories, I kyria Kataki (Mrs. Kataki). She has since written three novels, all of which have been translated into several languages. She wrote the screenplay for The Brides, directed by Pandelis Vulgaris and produced by Martin Scorsese, and Estrella mi vida, directed by Costa Gavras.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    Good Greek fiction in English...at last!

    As a Greek American who gets back 'home' every three years or so, I remember my literary relations getting all excited about a book called 'Mikri Anglia' last time I was over. Well, I tried dipping in, but my Greek is not great at the best of times, and, boy, did this book have a style all its own! Anyway, I was real glad to see that an American publisher's gone and published it over here. I liked the translation: it rememinded me of the style of the original, only this time I could get to grips with it! Not exactly complex, it just sort of 'flows' more than most writing does. Anyways, this is a special day for us non Greek-speaking Greeks: a recent Greek book we can enjoy as a novel in its own right.

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