— GREGORY NAGY
Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature
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In her book, “Grave Markers, Bird Feathers and the Aegean Sea” (ISBN 1466367962), Kathryn Heuston Clark uses the country of Greece, its philosophy and ancient religious beliefs as a way of coping with loss.
Told through the eyes of the narrator, this story shares her struggles as she tries to regain some sense of her life after the loss of her father, husband and mother in quick succession. The situation is complicated as her husband’s ill-fated stock market investment to beat the clock falls through and drains almost all of their family savings.
Forced back into the working environment for the first time in more than a decade, the narrator fights to support her three children and help them cope with the loss of their father and grandparents.
After saving for many years, the narrator is able to offer each child, upon reaching the age of 18, a trip anywhere outside of the United States. As each chooses a destination somewhere in the Mediterranean, the narrator integrates her knowledge of the classical world and describes how ancient Greek philosophy and religion have an active voice in modern life. It is from here that the reader is able to witness how each character evolves and develops a broader and richer understanding of the universal human condition.
“I wanted to share the discoveries that I came across to help others in similar situations,” Clark says. “By adopting an inclusive approach to the idea of a higher power, a person can find a belief system that works for them.”
Given the economic struggles occurring in Greece today, “Grave Markers, Bird Feathers and the Aegean Sea” offers insight into the wisdom and beauty of this cultural destination. The author’s detailed knowledge of the religious archaeological sites of Greece allows readers to feel as if they are experiencing the sites firsthand.
Kathryn Heuston Clark is a University of California at Berkeley graduate with a degree in classics. She has traveled throughout the Mediterranean and divides her time between Greece and the United States.
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This book really got my attention. The story is interesting and the writer deals with difficult subjects in a straightforward way. I would recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with grief and loss, with being a care-giver, with learning to parent teenagers without a partner, with finding a way forward without losing sight of the past. There is a lot of interesting information about Greek mythology and poetry that strikes a chord with me. I hope to visit Greece someday myself. Thank you for a beautiful story.