WRITING ABOUT GREECE IS A DANGEROUS BUSINESS
Ant Press is delighted to be working with Peter Barber on his very successful, hilarious Parthenon series. The books describe the passions and pitfalls of an Anglo-Greek marriage, and Peter has just announced that he has finished the second book in the series. But when he handed the pages to his wife, Alex, to read, he suddenly realised he was walking on extremely dangerous ground. This is what happened next…
Alex has taken a dangerous interest in my new book. She was not really expecting the last one to be such a success, so took little notice and just left me to my scribbling, assuming it was a little hobby I would soon get bored with.
But the book sold well and went into the best-seller charts. It was even translated into other languages. So the next book had to be right. After all, it’s mostly about her.
She took my completed manuscript, a red pen and set to work editing. As the most patriotic Greek in Greece, and married to me, who writes amusing stories about Greece, I am on dangerous ground.
I huddled in the sofa’s corner, waiting for the onslaught while she put on her reading glasses and picked up her red pen and studied the first page.
Her expression darkened. She angrily threw the red pen down and pointed to the page.
“You can’t write that,” she told me.
“Why not? It happened,” I replied.
“Not that way,” she protested. “That is wrong. It’s ridiculous and inaccurate.”
“Ok, I will change it,” I told her.
“But the Greeks will read this,” she said.
“Ok, I will change it,” I repeated.
“But I was there. It is not true. It did not happen that way,” she fumed.
“Ok I will change it.”
I was getting worried now. Alex was building up to full flow, I’m in the tunnel and the train was coming towards me. There was no escape.
“You can’t just invent things because you don’t remember. I was there. It didn’t happen exactly like that.”
“Ok, please let me change it,” I begged.
“It’s not really good enough, is it? You are turning the book into a work of fiction, and it’s supposed to be a true story. You can’t just write what you want. We will lose all credibility. People who know us will read this. How will you feel when they see this fictional fantasy? It will be embarrassing for both of us. You need to look at the rest of the book and make some serious changes. Or I will not read any more.”
“Ok, I will change it. I forgot. Those shrimps at Georges taverna were indeed BBQ’d, not fried. You are completely correct; I made an error. Sorry, I promise not to do it again. Sorry.”
“So you should be. Where’s page two? I need to look at that.”