The Sailor's Wife
Author: Helen Benedict
Publisher: Zoland Books
Release Date: March 31, 2001
A tour de force of storytelling, "The Sailor's Wife" is a powerful glimpse at an ancient culture, where a modern woman is plunked down in a world totally alien to her. Joyce Perlman, a nave young woman from a Miami suburb, meets and marries a Greek merchant marine named Nikos. He takes her back to his peasant parents on a remote Greek island, and leaves her there, rarely returning, for over two years. Joyce finds herself living the merciless life of a Greek peasant woman, at the command of people steeped in religion, misogyny, superstition and their experience of war. Yet, she loves it. For the first time in her life, she feels she has a purpose. She finds the village community, the urgency of farming and the love of her in-laws more rewarding than anything she experienced in what she considers her empty life in her Florida suburb. Then she meets Alex, a young Englishman with family on the island, and finally realizes everything she's turned her back on: modernity, education, freedom, and passion. "The Sailor's Wife" is a poignant examination of the nature of freedom, and the struggle to balance duty and love.
""The Sailor's Wife" is a story of cultural rifts and emotional discoveries, told with a knowing simplicity that gives Helen Benedict's novel a distinctive and memorable voice."-Meg Wolitzer
"In "The Sailor's Wife" Helen Benedict takes us so thoroughly to another time and place, so deeply into the lives of her characters - young and old, American and Greek - that it's easy to forget our own time and place. This is a wonderfully intelligent and suspenseful novel."-Margot Livesey
Helen Benedict is the author of two previous novels, "Bad Angel" and "A World Like This,"both published by Dutton. She lives in New York City, and teaches at Columbia University.Chapter One
At night she dreams of supermarkets. Florida supermarkets. Aisles and aisles of boxes and cans. Things she had always taken for granted, not even particularly liked. Muzak. Tubs of cookies. Soda water. Colors like pale mint-green and neon pink.
Every morning at dawn her mother-in-law awakens her by thumping on the ceiling with a stick. "Get up, lazy!" she shouts in Gree