There are those who feel omniconscious when, after barely touching a couple of Greek islands, they already seem to know their millennia of history. Ana Capsir, author of “A Thousand Journeys to Ithaca. A personal vision of Greece”, reflects on the need to return as a tool for comparison, for re-reading geotopes, for careful and calm appreciation in order to understand how there are layers in space-time that are never repeated.
There are travelers who make the journey a vital process, in which learning is an art, or even, as the Greeks would say, an Episteme, an acquired knowledge. Capsir is one of those stubborn travelers. In our case it was Trinakria (the Greek name for Sicily) that opened a door of no return to our passion for the unknown. Capsir embarked on her particular Ithaca, not knowing if she would find Ariadne’s thread to the center of the Greek labyrinth.
Capsir plays with the trap of bringing us closer to the islands through an almost forgotten way of traveling, following the times of the wave counters, who traveled with the slow rhythm of the wind, aboard a ship that emulates the Argonauts. It seems difficult that trip for most mortals, in these times when it is intended to know the Greek islands (almost 600) in a week.
Javier Reverte’s easy and enjoyable prose always encourages you to start a book of his and makes it never heavy. In this one he has lowered the piston a bit, and there are fewer pages to fold underneath (don’t you know what I mean, well, get to know me!) The best thing about it is that it encourages you to read the classics, and reminds you that some of the best sentences come from them. I told you before to get to know me, but, no way, listen to the Delphic oracle and know yourself first.
This beautiful book has reminded me of my trip to Greece three summers ago. Javier Reverte, who recently passed away, has left us a series of books about his travels in different parts of the world that are wonderful. Not only does he narrate his experiences along the chosen route, but he also tells us the history of each place and, in this case, reminds us of the famous characters of Greek mythology. With this book you travel through the present of Greece, Turkey and Egypt, places in which you will find yourself.
Another good travel/history book by the master Javier Reverte, this time through the territories of classical Greece, with his usual mix of history (Greek mythology, philosophers, Ulysses, Alexander the Great, …) and present, with the always human and reflective look of the author and the touches of humor that characterize him, perhaps something more poetic and nostalgic, and more historical synthesis than travel book itself, with abundant literary quotations. Very interesting and entertaining.
Current Greek writers
The book is beautiful from the prologue, written by none other than the poet father of symbolism, Jean Moreas, a friend of its author and who fortunately rests less than twenty meters from our compatriot in the Pére Lachaise Cemetery, in the heart of Paris. From each corner of the block of tombs in which they both lie, I imagine that in the wallpurgis night they must get up to talk about the Greek sky and light, among other things. Moreas, with a copy under his arm, has to open The Eternal Greece on the second page of the prologue, and with a stentorian voice he starts to read, so that Oscar Wilde can also listen to him, who soon gets up, a few steps away as well:
Thus opens the narration of one of his most beautiful books. Carrillo knows well what he is talking about, for by the end of his life he will have survived three shipwrecks, so the Greek incident is not minor, at least he had been shipwrecked once before. However, the storm is nothing more than an excuse to catch the reader’s attention, because a couple of paragraphs in, the tone has already changed, announcing the delight of the almost three hundred following pages in which there is no room for anything but joy, surprise and wonder, perhaps also nostalgia: “In days of light, no one can explain that its blue serenity could have instilled such panic in the ancient navigators”.
“The traveler-writer reveals himself as a scholar who handles with ease the historical data and also the mythical world. The narration of the battle of Thermopylae not only exudes historical rigor but also gives a glimpse of the literary talent of Antonio Penadés”. ALICIA GARCÍA-HERRERA”
“A journey from the present to the past, a journey that happens just by turning a page but that is capable of sowing in us the desire for adventure, the need to fly as far as we can to propel us towards our deepest roots, in search of knowledge and truth.”
Antonio PenadésAntonio Penadés Chust (Valencia, 1970) is a historian, journalist and lawyer. Co-author of “Cinco miradas sobre la novela histórica” (Evohé). Author of the novel “El hombre de Esparta” (Edhasa), the essays “El declive de Atenas” (RBA) and “La gesta de las Termópilas” (Gredos) and the travel chronicle “Tras las huellas de Heródoto” (Almuzara). Since 2005 he has directed the Narrative course at the LIber Museum. Hislibris Award of honor 2012. Contributor to the newspaper El País and the magazines Historia National Geographic and Descubrir el Arte. He chairs Acción Cívica (accion-civica.org), a civil society organization dedicated to the fight against political corruption and the defense of the humanities.