To Hellas and Back is the true story of one woman’s four year Greek Odyssey for love. Lana Penrose subtitled her book, ‘My modern-day Greek tragedy’, but it soon becomes clear to the reader that Penrose was being facetious, as this very funny book does not read like any Greek tragedy I’ve ever read!
During the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Aussie girl Lana Penrose follows her sweetheart Dion, to Athens when he is offered the job of managing one of the city’s most popular radio stations. As the son of two Greek parents, Dion takes to the city of Athens like a duck to water. As Lana Penrose was later to write in her book – for Dion “a lifetime of passive cultural conditioning sprang to life” when he begins living and working in the Greek capital.
But for Penrose, who is unable to speak the language and due to visa restrictions is unable to work in Greece, being cooped up all day in a one bedroom apartment with no-one to talk to, leads to an almost inevitable battle with depression. Although she didn’t know it at the time, Lana Penrose was suffering from a wicked case of ‘culture shock’. Which is perhaps the reason why the author’s hilarious observations make the gateway to the land of the Gods look about as appealing as the gates of hell!
Over the course of her Greek Odyssey, Penrose meets a cast of weird and wonderful characters, including Tim, a cheeky New Zealander whose friendship and boundless energy becomes somewhat of a life line for Lana when her relationship with Dion begins to unravel.
Dion’s gig in Greek radio was suppose to last for just 12 months, but four years later Lana and Dion are attending the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. It is at this point in the story where Penrose must make a heart breaking decision which changes the tone of the book considerably in the final act of this modern-day Greek tale.
From cover to cover, To Hellas and Back is the funniest book I’ve read in years. So if you are the type of person who is easily embarrassed, you’ll want to read this book where no-one can hear you laughing out loud.
For more information about Lana Penrose visit her website at lanapenrose.com.au
All of Lana’s books can be purchased exclusively online at Amazon.com (for print and Kindle editions) or at smashwords.com (for all other digital reading devices, including direct download to your computer).