Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Today I am pleased to present to you an excerpt from Barbara Bonfigli new fictional memoir, CAFE TEMPEST: Adventures on a Small Greek Island, as well as a short video of the very personable Barbara introducing her book and her beloved island.

Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island
by Barbara Bonfigli

About the book (from the publisher):

What is it about Greece that makes it so exotic, so romantic, so tantalizing that it's right at the top of everybody's bucket list - the one foreign land they're longing to visit? Our dreams are made on Never on Sunday, Zorba the Greek, and more recently My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mama Mia.

Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island is a witty, evocative, beautifully written novel that puts you right in the heart of Greek island life. It's so alive with the sights and smells and tastes and characters of Greece that you can pick it up and start your Mediterranean vacation on page one. On a deeper level, the book is filled with the kinds of observations, reflections, and arc of self-discovery that make Eat, Pray, Love so compelling.

“Welcome to Pharos. Laugh and dance in the hammock--not the cradle--of Western civilization,” says author, lyricist, and theatrical producer Barbara Bonfigli. “I've been falling in love with Greece since I was old enough to drink retsina. But if Sarah hadn't captured my imagination you'd never know how I feel about friendship, feta, and the abundance of grace that turns friends into lovers and fishermen into kings.”

Excerpt from Chapter Three:

From Rhodes we catch a small caique to our destination. The island of Pharos is a cluster of arid volcanic rocks off the Turkish coast, with about two thousand inhabitants not counting cats and goats. I discovered it four years ago in the Classical manner (viz. The Odyssey above) when the boat I'd chartered with friends pitched up there by mistake. It was me on the dog watch, steering by a star, and it set. Just a slight navigational error; slight! We didn't end up in another language.

It doesn't matter that I'll never live it down; I've found my native land. The days are mild, the water warm, the sky an unfiltered blue. Pharians are by nature generous and embracing. Any visitor who makes the slightest attempt to speak their impossible language is practically adopted. Life here is intoxicating in its simplicity. No airport, it's too remote to attract many tour boats, and you'd have to be lost to just drop by. Though its face changes in August. Then the old men desert the tavernas--their backgammon boxes mold under the bar; farmers stop coming to town for an ouzaki; no goat herds trot through the village churning the streets to dust clouds; the fishermen stow their nets and turn their caiques into beach ferries. But this is May. Take a deep breath.

The boat docks just after midnight. Stavros, bent like the new moon, older than Charon, is there to meet us. In these narrow lanes his wooden pushcart is the only means of transporting our stuff, the donkeys having bedded down at sunset. He's happy to see us, his only customers tonight.

“Harika na se dho,” I tell him, a phrase learned over the winter. Until then what I'd thought meant “Happy to see you” was actually “I'm so thrilled to see you I could jump into bed with you right now.” Which may explain my popularity on Pharos.

Stavros hugs me and smiles at Alex. He's not too old to notice the waist-length chestnut hair, dark eyes under darker lashes, the sculpted angles and curves of a workout maven. He steps back, surveys our pile of bags, shakes his head--a Turkish rug dealer agreeing to a ridiculous price.

“It's no more than last year,” I tell him.

“But me, I'm a year older.” His crow-bright laughter echoes across the shuttered port.

A boy appears from the moonshadow of the street lamp and picks up a suitcase.

“Costas, my nephew.” He's twelve or thirteen, lean and wiry with dark hair and darker eyes, stooping to be invisible. I'm looking at Stavros, how many years before, waiting for his life to begin. Will he leave as Stavros never did, as eager to be gone from here as we are to arrive?

“Welcome,” he whispers, eyes down.

We set off under a black sky pricked with stars. The streets are narrow, lit by a half-moon falling on high whitewashed walls. As we climb out of the port to Kastro they taper to twisting passages no wider than Stavros's cart. We fall in behind, silent, listening to the dogs calling, the night birds, the tinny carillon of goat bells in the valley. I'm thrilled by the stillness, the sharp nightlines, the soft jasmine air. Below us the sea suddenly appears, a skein of rough silk.

“Look,” says Alex, her voice husky with amazement. Far below now, our ferry is rounding the tip of the harbor, its wake a fan of diminishing pleats scattering the moonlight.

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher -
or from Amazoné-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit

Barbara Bonfigli's website -

Thank you to Nikki Leigh and Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours
for organizing this tour
and for providing me with my review copy of CAFE TEMPEST.


itsJUSTme-wendy said...

Sounds a book that I would enjoy, I absolutely love the cover! I think that if I bought it I would rip off the cover and frame it!

Nikki Leigh said...

Great post and I see you got the video working :) There are a whole series of Greek travel tips to give some additional "flavor". To see all Travel Tips -

Nikki Leigh