Aphrodite's Breath, by Susan Johnson (A&U 2023)

Neil's picture

In this memoir, Susan Johnson describes her late in life return to the Greek Island of Kythera where she spent some happy times in her earlier life. She asks her 85 year old mother to come with her, and it doesn't go well. This is an evocative, original and funny examination of the mother-daughter relationship under pressure, against the background of an exotic location. It's not a My Tuscan Villa kind of book - the Greece that she describes is too gritty and uncompromising for that, but it comes across as a hospitable place for those who approach it with the right attitude. It's a moving book, the prose is lovely, muscular and lyrical at the same time.