A born story-teller, that is how my friend Kim would most likely describe herself if asked about the process of writing her novel “Greek Red Tomatoes”. And a story-teller she is.
I do not remember a time in my life when books (paper or otherwise) were not present, when reading was not part of my daily routine. I owe my survival of the most turbulent teen age years to pretending to be somebody else, some fictional character in the boring story of my life. As I grew older and more discriminating about the reading material I would devote my precious time to, I couldn’t help feeling in awe of all those men and women who spent countless hours at a desk weaving stories, creating characters for my personal pleasure and enrichment. If the connection between reader and writer is anonymous and unseen, it is nonetheless one of the most intimate relationships two human beings can have.
And I am in awe of my friend Kim who, over the course of seven months, set out to write the story that had been dancing in her head for years. The book, revised three times and still looking for a proper home in the publishing industry, is a multigenerational story steeped in Kim’s Greek heritage. In her words….
“Thea* Mylopoulos-Rosten—like so many women—is perpetually unsatisfied. She is thirty-one, healthy, attractive; has a home, a career, and a loving mother. But she’s not content, and it’s not because she is single and childless. A Greek-American woman born and raised in the U.S., Thea has always been searching—searching for love, for country, for that elusive thing in life that will make her happy. Thea tries to understand her life and choices by escaping to Kythnos, a tranquil Greek island. There, in solitude, she begins writing reflections about her life; then delves into her grandmother’s and mother’s histories. She recounts her yiayia’s experiences in 1940s Egypt, her mother’s in 1960s Athens, and finally, writes her own story.
This novel, which spans Thea’s life from thirty-one to thirty-six years old, puts her in situations that challenge her concept of the ideal relationship. It’s a story of dynamic women, mother-daughter relationships, and ultimately: learning to love oneself. What Thea also learns though her dire explorations is that romantic love can happen in the most unexpected places—or not at all—but only she can make the choice to be happy.”
If you are curious and want to know more, I encourage you to log onto Kim’s website where you can read an excerpt, which is going to whet your appetite. I have no doubt that, through Kim’s determination and sheer stubbornness, I will be holding more than just a sheaf of copied pages sooner rather than later. And I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.