iris literary agency

The Red Patent Shoes

Written by 

“She sat next to him, her new red patent shoes on, leg a-swinging so her grandpa would notice them being so beautiful!Her father had brought them for her on one of his trips. Since that day she had never stopped wearing them. She showed them off to everyone and they would all admiringly exclaim, ‘Oh my, what beautiful shoes!’ She felt so proud with them on.

Grandpa turned to her, his eyes smiling.”

Years later, the sight of a pair of red patent shoes in a shop window transports her to the past.

This is the recount of the journey of a Greek family which began in the mid 19th century and continues to this day. Four generations whose fate was marked by history; men and women who lived passions, love, the joy of creation, the warmth of the family hearth, but also disappointment and isolation.

Zakynthos, Odessa, Constantinople, Smyrna, Athens… Soon after the Russian Revolution, master Yiangos and his family depart Odessa for Constantinople (Istanbul) to lay down new roots. Nena, his great-granddaughter survives the annihilation of the Greek minority in Constantinople and witnesses the end of an era.

She starts anew in Athens but Constantinople is forever in her heart.

A gripping and informative “biography” set in the historical context of the previous century’s turbulent events in Eastern Europe.

English extracts available.

 

Orhan Pamuk said for The red patent shoes,

"This engaging novel about the Greek minority of Istanbul, based on detailed experienced situations, took me back to my childhood, reminding me of old times when the city of was full of wooden houses. A unique, precious book."

 

A reader’s view

The book helped me particularly in this period, with everyone feeling helpless against history. I try not to let this general uncertainty make me transfixed with stress, but instead to be mobilized by a beautiful and whimsical curiosity about the future. I can't say I am successful in this effort, but surely your book granted moments pushing me to that direction.”

Vretou Stella

She was born in Istanbul, studied History and Archeology in the University of Athens and she has been working for the last twenty years as a translator and editor in publishing.