Facing Athens: Encounters with the Modern City - Yiorgos Sarrinikolaou

"Facing Athens is a fine book -- a sober and haunting ode to a lost city, to memory, to the passage of time and the folly of men." --- Rosemary Mahoney, author of Whoredom in Kimmage and The Singular Pilgrim."

An "important" book. --- The New York Times

"Trawling the ancient streets, [Sarrinikolaou] finds that in Athens life itself has become a competition, with almost half the national population crowded into the small capital, vying for 'money, space, sex, even air.' Corruption is the city's tragic flaw, as the author learns firsthand when his grandfather falls ill: a surgeon stops mid-operation and appears, bloodstained, before the family to demand more money. Writing with lucidity and restraint, Sarrinikolaou allows images to quietly resonate: in a night club, nouveau-riche Greeks shower singers with hundreds of euros' worth of carnations; it is carnations, too, which are later tossed after his grandfather's coffin into a concrete grave." --- The New Yorker