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This is the Athens that even many Athenians see only in passing, and in Facing Athens Sarrinikolaou claims it for himself, a perennial visitor, and also for the reader, who, in effect, visits the city through his gritty, lyrical, unstinting, yet finally affectionate portrait of the place. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.


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To ask other readers questions about Facing Athens , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jan 02, Dankistler rated it really liked it. Home always looks different For anyone who goes home after a number of years away will see their home in a much different light. This book does just that as the author pokes around his home town of Athens, Greece and sees what he never saw as a child.

Yes, Athens has all kinds of problems—what modern city does not—but in many ways the people of Greece are best suited to solve these problems as almost everyone there that is everyone who stayed understands that it will take years of work and eff Home always looks different For anyone who goes home after a number of years away will see their home in a much different light. Yes, Athens has all kinds of problems—what modern city does not—but in many ways the people of Greece are best suited to solve these problems as almost everyone there that is everyone who stayed understands that it will take years of work and effort to turn things around.

This book is a good hard look at Athens from a number of years ago and the city is still facing most of these problems and even more with the influx of refugees from the Middle East.

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Well worth reading before you head off to Athens for you summer vacation. Aug 10, Jessi rated it really liked it. As part of a class that I was taking, I was required to read this book and write a 12 page analysis of it. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much, although I probably would not have read it if not for this class.

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I felt like it offerred a very refreshing and "real" explanation of Greek society as it was in It was a nice change from the instructors other course material, which by and large painted a rosy glow on all things Greek. I think that the current crisis in Greece shows that things th As part of a class that I was taking, I was required to read this book and write a 12 page analysis of it.

I think that the current crisis in Greece shows that things there are not rosy and beautiful, and that Greece has some serious issues to contend with moving forward in the future.

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I'll spare you my 12 page research analysis, and just hit the highlights: He writes about this place from the perspective of an American returning to his homeland, which he has been away from for 20 years. Sarrinikolaou picks over Greek culture piece by piece. He alternates between sharing stories of the Greece he remembers as a child, and analyzing how Greece is today. He also keeps in the minds of the readers the historical context for the current status of Greece.

By and large, his analysis is not positive. He describes Greece as a place that was dominated by xenophobia, racism, and corruption. He laments Greece in as being riddled with basic disregard for the safety and necessities of a functional society. He explains some of the difficult problems that Greece faces and attempts to somewhat illuminate the historical path that Greece took to get there. Oct 20, Brett rated it it was ok Shelves: Sarrinikolaou paints modern Athens as a city of contradictions. While this juxtaposition has great potential, it is done sloppily here, giving the reader t Sarrinikolaou paints modern Athens as a city of contradictions.

While this juxtaposition has great potential, it is done sloppily here, giving the reader the feeling of reading two disjointed works. Sarrinikolaou is quite critical of many of the changes in Athens, and many of the attitudes he encounters.


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  6. However, the difficulties and dereliction found in central Athens, for example, only mimic the pattern set forth by other major European and American cities perhaps a generation later, due to slower development in Greece. Very little of what Sarrinikolaou describes is unique to Athens.

    The author comes across as condescending and lacking any sense of evenhandedness. Jul 07, Louis rated it it was ok Shelves: An American immigrant returns to the city of his birth after living in New York for 20 years. From the "racism" of the Greeks towards the immgrants Albanians, Kurds etc. I guess this is not what I expected and maybe he was trying to find the Athens seen through the eyes of a 10 year old when he left G An American immigrant returns to the city of his birth after living in New York for 20 years.

    I guess this is not what I expected and maybe he was trying to find the Athens seen through the eyes of a 10 year old when he left Greece but the problems he found are in every city in the world. Just way too negative for my liking and for anyone who has not been to Greece, I would take it with a grain of salt. Athens does have many faults but is still the cradle of modern civilization and there are wonderful archaeological sites and museums to see. Don't really want to recommend it but it is one point of view.

    Dec 03, Lisa rated it it was ok.

    FACING ATHENS: Encounters with the Modern City

    I lived in Athens 20 years ago, and was interested in reading about how someone who also had been away from the city described it. For that reason, the book engaged me, but I found that the chapters were very disconnected, and I didn't think the end wrapped up well. The interjection of childhood memories and family stories was a little confusing. The main idea I leave the book with is that Athens is being changed by immigration and overdevelopment, and there is local resentment.

    Facing Athens: Encounters with the Modern City by George Sarrinikolaou

    Sarrinikolaou do I lived in Athens 20 years ago, and was interested in reading about how someone who also had been away from the city described it. Sarrinikolaou does a good job of showing this through neighborhood vignettes and observations collected on walks. I enjoyed the chapter about Athenian soccer games - the energy and chaos he describes has not changed at all! Nov 25, Amanda rated it really liked it Shelves: In suburban bastions of old money, he contrasts the Athenian aristocracy, villas and privilege, all at a secure, safe distance from the city, with buses packed with sweaty servants and gardeners at quitting time.

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    Sarrinikolaou's snapshot observations are significant, as he touches on frenzied soccer games, gypsies' homes, the ritual of a lamb feast, student politics and the Archbishop Christodoulos Paraskevaides's protest against government exclusion of religion on new state identity cards. His writing seems conflicted, troubled, as if he didn't want to cast his childhood recollections against the myth of Athens.

    Nevertheless, he tries to play fair in a somber overview of the city, regardless of its defects. Sarrinikolaou will do media interviews out of New York, and his book is bound to get special coverage due to the summer Olympics. View Full Version of PW.