A Thing of Beauty: Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece (Hardcover)
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‘Essential reading’ Helen Morales
‘Fiennes is a brilliant and generous guide through Greece’ Observer
What do the Greek myths mean to us today?
It’s now a golden age for these tales – they crop up in novels, films and popular culture. But what’s the modern relevance of Theseus, Hera and Pandora? Were these stories ever meant for children? And what’s to be seen now at the places where heroes fought and gods once quarrelled?
Peter Fiennes travels to the sites of some of the most famous Greek myths, on the trail of hope, beauty and a new way of seeing what we have done to our world. Fiennes walks through landscapes – stunning and spoiled – on the trail of dancing activists and Arcadian shepherds, finds the ‘most beautiful beach in Greece’, consults the Oracle, and loses himself in the cities, remote villages and ruins of this storied land.
About the Author
Peter Fiennes is the author of the critically acclaimed Footnotes, Oak and Ash and Thorn, and To War with God. As the publisher for Time Out, he nurtured a lifelong obsession with old guidebooks, creating award-winning city guides, walking books and titles about Britain’s countryside and seaside. He lives in south-west London.
‘Fiennes is a brilliant and generous guide through Greece. He weaves the ancient world and the modern together with intelligence and elegance… A Thing of Beauty is a must-read for anyone visiting Greece but, at this time when travel is tricky for any number of reasons, perhaps even more essential for those of us who don’t know when next we’ll get there.’
— Alex Preston, Observer
‘This book is a lament for a poisoned planet… He goes in search of the numinous but relishes the bathos of modernity… not so much a travelogue as an excursion into the psyche of Anthropocene man.’
— Literary Review
‘A Thing of Beauty is an immensely pleasurable read. It takes you on an adventure around Greece and the myths that the ancients told there. But what really stayed with me were the reflections on storytelling, joy, and hope. Essential reading for our pandemic and pollution ravaged times.’
— Helen Morales, author of Antigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths
‘Peter Fiennes has a way of making even the most serious of subjects enjoyable and riveting to the end, and A Thing of Beauty is certainly no exception, this is great travel writing that makes the reader a part of the adventure, and one of the most engaging and enjoyable books I’ve read this year.’
— Pilgrim House
‘A deeply humane travelogue, a beautifully written book of stories, A Thing of Beauty is a siren song for Greece and a generous and precious gift – a classical education for those of us who are bereft of one.’
— Patrick Barkham, natural history writer and author of Wild Child
‘Peter Fiennes… follows in the footsteps of Pausanias, Lord Byron and others to rediscover some of the most evocative landscapes and sites from classical myth.’
‘Fiennes sets out to explore the birthplace of Western civilization, Greece, in search of Hope… It’s a highly personal travelogue…with the historical and modern-day detail that late British travel writer Jan Morris might bring to the task.’
— Booklist, starred review