By Barry Unsworth. National Geographic, 2004, 170 pp.
Even for the Greeks of old, “Crete was the most venerable and ancient place imaginable,” says the novelist Barry Unsworth in his chronicle of a trip he took to the island with his wife one spring. According to myth, Crete was the birthplace of Zeus, and it was where Zeus later carried Europa, daughter of a Phoenician king, having seduced her in the shape of a bull. “Crete then, not only gave Europe its name, it was where Europe began,” he says, “a truth Cretans have always known.”
Writing with imagery that is evocative but not flamboyant, Unsworth conveys the antiquity—as well as the spirit—of this rugged island which abounds in caves, gorges, and magnificent views of the sea. Visiting ruins, (more…)