Beyond the Blue Ikarian Sea by John Chrysochoos
A memoir that reads like a novel, John Chrysochoos, PhD has written a book called Beyond the Blue Ikarian Sea: Life in Greece and North America that tells the story of his life up until this point. Although the narrative follows a man named Aris, as the author explains in the introduction, this is simply the name he has chosen for himself, as he always wished to be called this. The story that unfolds on these pages is based in fact, although some portions of it have been slightly fictionalized. We follow Aris from his childhood in Greece through his golden years once he has moved to America. Aris’ innocent childhood on the beautiful Greek island of Ikaria is painfully interrupted by the start of World War II and the subsequent Greek Civil War. The occupation by the enemy and the following famine had a great impact on Aris growing up. His immigration to North America, first landing in Canada and then moving to the United States where he has lived most of his adult life is showcased as the narrative progresses. While Aris did not always have it easy, and faced many problems throughout his journey, the thought of the beautiful blue sea that surrounded the island of Ikaria always brought him peace.
It is an interesting choice to write a memoir in such a fashion, as if it is in fact a novel. While some may find the choice strange, the author explains his reasoning for doing so by saying that he wished “to make the story as objective as possible.” The author somewhat distances himself from his own life, and only interjects when he feels he needs to offer his own interpretation. Nevertheless, the entire book is really his interpretation, as he is recounting a story based on fact, whether or not it is partially fictionalized, his voice is coming through on every page. The story is an intriguing one, as the author has clearly lived a vibrant life full of ups and downs. The book will appeal to many, but we believe it’s reach would extend even further if the author would have simply written it as a straightforward memoir.
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