The Feasts of Memory
Stories of a Greek Family
by Elias Kulukundis
The Feasts of Memory brings alive a world of ancient traditions and colorful customs
that will touch the life of anyone wishing to discover Greece. The famous Greek shipping
family of Kulukundis is the source of inspiration for a clever combination of travel book,
Kulukundis' autobiography, and a collection of the family's stories. The tales told around
the dinner tables of his family in exile recreate the ancestors' life on the island of Kasos.
These stories are imbued with the sophistication and wit of a Greek expatriate, but at the same
time they delve deep into the motivating passions of the Aegean islands.
An obliging Uncle George accompanied the author through the labyrinth of tales, narrating and
explaining along the way. Uncle George's uncle, Doctor Nikolakis, was a honey-tongued bachelor
who became the character of the longest story in The Feasts of Memory. Later the same doctor turned
into the fateful hero of Kulukundis' opera libretto Three Brides for Kasos, based on Nikolakis' unusual destiny.
In a whirlwind drama in which two island families vie for the hand of this peculiar bachelor, a tug of
war between old and new mores leads to a tragicomedy where laughter bursts like the sun through an
Aegean storm. This book was first published by Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, in 1963.
This revised edition includes a new chapter.
"The Feasts of Memory by Elias Kulukundis is a rich literary banquet.
It's a fascinating travel memoir that echoes the writings on Greece of Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell,
a revealing family chronicle of one of the great Greek shipping dynasties, and a sharply etched portrait of Aegean
island life as it was lived for centuries but is now rapidly fading away." -- Nicholas Gage, author of Eleni
". . . funny and most engaging . . . an excellent anecdotal history of Kasiot lore . . .
a beautiful and imaginative exploration of a writer's relationship to his origins." -- The New Yorker
"I read it with delight and recognition and couldn't put it down.. . .
It captures wonderfully the long, dark-rooted traditions of island Greece." -- Mary Renault
"With a poet's vision, Elias Kulukundis comes to understand that our journeys are eternal.
This is a book that enriches memories, enlightens our quests, and soothes for a while our own xenitia."
-- Harry Mark Petrakis, Saturday Review
"Elias Kulukundis is a born storyteller, one of those rare and enchanting people who
instinctively disentangle the essential story from the confusion of . . . events, choose
the most striking elements, cherish its principal characters, and give it a new lease on life."
-- Helen Vlachos, The Spectator
"What a beautiful job . . . It's a personal history which forces the present to have importance through the past." -- John Cassavetes
About the Author
Grandson of two Kasiot sea captians and son of a Kasiot shipowner, Elias Kulukundis was born in London in 1937.
Three years later his family moved to America and he grew up in Rye, New York. Educated at Phillips Exeter and Harvard,
he became a versatile linguist as well as a writer. Mr. Kulukundis translated Viktor Nekrasov's Both Sides of the Ocean
from the Russian. Mr. Kulukundis currently lives in New York.
Memoir. $19.95, 5" x 7-7/8", 240 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-931807-11-6
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