MYKONOS by Nancy Raeburn


A Memoir
Email this review


 An affectionate memoir of a particular place and its people, as well as an unpretentious meditation on the meaning of life, by a 1990 Minnesota Voices Project Winner. Raeburn, an artist who spent ten years on the Greek island of Mykonos painting its glorious light-filled landscape, has written not a conventional account of days passed and things done but rather a thoughtful appreciation of what the island and some of its people meant to her. As she found herself grappling with all those vexing questions of what life is about, it was these people who helped her to find the answers she needed. There was Iraklis, the artist, who by choice lived a celibate and ascetic life and whose friendship taught Raeburn that fear is one of ``the wretched faces of evil.'' There were the two aging nuns who, at a memorial service, in ``a kind of grace,'' revealed ``that death seemed less a fearsome separation from the world than an inevitable and celebratory invitation to unite once again with the source.'' And there was the dying Theophilos, rake and former collaborator, who finally confessed his sins and died in peace. Many other such moments of grace abound--watching the sun rise on Delos or even sitting quietly with an old horse in a field. And all the while, Raeburn notes the changing of the seasons; of the island, as the demands of the burgeoning tourist industry undermine its peace and traditions; and of herself, impelling her eventual return to Minnesota. What Raeburn learns about life is not new, but, like Annie Dillard, she is a pilgrim in search of grace who writes about that quest in luminous and evocative prose.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-89823-131-0
Page count: 120pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1991