More than travel writing, this is a story of finding home.




A wife and mother chronicles her move from England to Greece.

The author, whose Russian father met her mother on holiday in Greece, grew up in England and married a Greek man. They spent most of their marriage in the U.K. and Russia, but in the summer of 2001 moved with their two daughters to a suburb of Athens. In her debut memoir, which recalls Patricia Storace’s Dinner with Persephone (1996), Zinovieff recounts her family’s first year in Greece. An anthropologist by training, she brings a keen eye for detail to her lovely prose, e.g., a new highway in Athens was “like a soft, steaming slick of black treacle.” The most poignant theme here is the parenting of bilingual, bicultural kids. Zinovieff realized her family was really becoming Greek when, on her birthday, her girls serenaded her with the Greek equivalent of Happy Birthday (“May you live, little Mum, and grow old, with white hair”). She suspected that as her daughters acclimated to their new country, they would sometimes be embarrassed by her decidedly English customs. The difference between her English and Greek selves was captured by a change of name: In English she was known as Sofka Zinovieff; her Greek neighbors transformed Sofka into Sophia, and schoolchildren called her by her husband’s last name, Papadimitriou. By November, Zinovieff had started to feel rather comfortable in her new environs. She decided to apply for Greek citizenship, even though that promised a long tangle with the bureaucracy. Some aspects of Greek culture—chronic tardiness, for example—grated on her. But she appreciated Athens, a city where even the most urban, modern pockets could still rightly be called “neighborhoods.” She enjoyed getting to know her Greek in-laws and celebrating holidays like Easter in Greece; indeed, she enjoyed both the literal and metaphorical significance of having a new name.

More than travel writing, this is a story of finding home.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-86207-750-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Granta UK/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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