LABYRINTHINE WAYS: A love story and a labyrinth
A New Novel by AURELIA
'Start with Manoussos, Muses, and end with him as well.'
Who knows the labyrinth that is the human heart?
Must you journey to find love? Or will love seek you out?
Emily is a traveler in the antique land of Crete, "where the mysteries run deep." One mystery is Manoussos, the village "Mayor," woodturner, and shepherd, loved by his community. So what is the darkness he carries in his heart?
"Be careful, won't you?" historian Matt warns Emily before she leaves London. But how can an expert on the past know what lies in the future?
The Fates conspire to draw both Emily, the sheltered English lady, and Ollie, the young wayfarer, to Manoussos' mountain village of Askyfou where all three lives are changed forever.
Labyrinthine Ways is the story of Manoussos, a woodturner and a shepherd, who lives a simple, self-sufficient life in Askyfou, an idyllic mountain village in Crete. Everyone who knows Manoussos loves this calm, strong man, but some whisper that he seems to suffer from a dark and secret shame that he cannot articulate. Can this be true? His friends in the kafenio wonder at this mystery.
Manoussos has two children: a son Manolis and a daughter Aleka. Any man would be proud to have such fine children and he loves them both dearly. But why is it that he cannot communicate his feelings to them?
Entering the story is the very proper and British Emily, a writer who lives in Blackheath, London, near the glorious World Heritage Sites of Greenwich, which she loves. But she needs a challenge: intellectually, culturally, perhaps, even, emotionally.
So she comes to Crete to write about the secrets of the Cretan diet. Emily has convinced herself that she will go to the magic island to discover gastronomical pleasures such as the freshest fish, perfect oregano, thyme, basil, and mountain tea and the most delicious mezedes. This is what she tells herself.
But her close friend, Matt, wonders if Emily really understands her sudden, powerful attraction to Crete. You have seldom ventured from your historical square mile, Emily, Matt reminds her.
And then there is Ollie who loves all things Greek and is also drawn to Crete. A web designer, he too longs to break the routines of his life and plans to journey from one glorious archaeological site to the next. He has just finished, for the third time, Christopher Thorne's Between the Seas, A Quiet Walk Through Crete, the story of Thorne's trek on the island, from one end to the other, during a single, continuous walk in 1990. He cannot even count the number of times he has read Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis.
The self-sufficient shepherd, the seeker of pleasures for the palate, and the wayfarer, will follow labyrinthine ways in journeys of self-discovery. Their paths will cross in unexpected twists and turns, but the common thread will be that each is transformed beneath the radiant light of Crete, where in the words of its most famous writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, "the mysteries run very, very deep."
And now, a digression, for, as you will recall, the Muses were entreated to start with Manoussos and end with him as well..
Manoussos sits in the kafenio next to the bakery waiting for his friend from Heraklion, Yiannis, the writer and newspaper editor, to join him. Yiannis is doing research on the Twelve Archontopoula. Manoussos has given careful thought to the way he will phrase his questions about the twelve "sons of princes" so that his friend does not suspect the reason he is asking. As he waits, for some inexplicable reason, verses from a poem someone read to him many years ago enter his thoughts.
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
of my own mind..
As Manoussos ponders why he has suddenly recalled these verses, dear reader, our story begins....
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