The Pale Surface of Things by Janey Bennett is the story of four male heroes - a fatherless Cretan mountain boy, a young American runaway bridegroom, a Cretan/American celibate Greek orthodox priest, and a never-been-kissed virginal Belgian academic archaeologist.
All are searching for their place in the world, and they find it – here on the beautiful Greek Island of Crete.
Their paths crisscross each other throughout the story like the donkey tracks, mountain paths and goat trails of the little Cretan villages, or the alleyways, passages and maze-like back streets of Chania's Venetian old town. Bennett captures these interactions wonderfully as their deepening relationships and personal stories unfold.
Tender and touching in places, challenging and thought provoking in others, Ms Bennett's first novel is a sheer pleasure to read.
All the characters are painted so vividly by Janey Bennett that you can see them, touch them, smell them, and feel them. You hear their voices, and the story they have to tell, loud and clear through Bennett's brilliant narrative. The various subplots add even more wonderful layers to the whole story and make for a very interesting, exciting and gripping read.
The brilliantly written story comes to life as Bennett's descriptive style allows the reader to be immersed not just in the beauty of the Greek Island of Crete but in the beauty of the heart and soul of its characters.
I loved the fast pace of the novel that contrasts so well with the slow unhurried life in a Cretan village.
Janey Bennett has thoroughly researched the subject matter and captured the very essence of Crete, including its difficult history and its growing challenge in balancing treasured old values and modern day life.
Gripping from start to finish I found it difficult to put this brilliant book down.
If you love Crete – and who doesn't – you'll love The Pale Surface of Things!
Visit Janey's website to learn more and buy it new - it's a great read!
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