Fish is an idealistic young composer whose life is in meltdown. Gabrielle is an archaeologist who has uncovered something frightening and needs to get away. The couple escape to economically decimated Greece where they take up residence at the abandoned house of Fish's late father.
The arrival of a rebellious lifeguard, a love-struck schoolteacher and an Albanian puppeteer, prompts Fish to follow his utopian dream of creating a new society. But as the heat of the Greek summer rises and tensions in the fledgling 'republic' increase, the unspoilt Aegean shoreline plays host to a series of unexplained events that threatens the future of the community.
With the sounds of Fish's imaginary orchestra playing throughout, Thimio's House builds towards an emotional crescendo and a shocking revelation.
Lyrical and satirical, funny and sad, sensuous and intellectual, gentle and traumatic, John Kefala Kerr's remarkable debut novel is about the raw unhappiness of modern society and an ancient vision of utopia.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Flawed characters make for a really involving story, set against the current problems in Greece. ~ tripfiction.com, http://www.tripfiction.com/books/thimios-house/
A beautifully evocative and poetic tale about a group of people living in a remote house on the Pelion coast. It's got sea, sun and mystery as well as a dash of Platonic idealism thrown in. ~ Tripadvisor, http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g189398-s205/Greece:Recommended.Reading.html
The debut novel from this Newcastle based author (and award-winning composer and sound artist) is a lyrical and highly sensory story of two young lovers, Fish, a music student working on his own compositions, and Gabrielle, an archaeologist from Ireland who is on the run for reasons unknown. They get together in the north-east but after Fish takes a pasting in Newcastle one day (Fish paste – ha!) they up sticks and head for austerity-laden Greece where Fish’s dead father, Thimio, was born. Here they hook up with some of Thimio’s family including his brother, now a monk, who fills Fish’s head with ideas about setting up an ideal society based on the teachings of Plato. This leads to the discovery of Thimio’s dilapidated old house that they populate with a rag-bag collection of drifters. It’s an impressionistic tale, rising and falling rather like a musical score, has a very nice turn of phrase (“snow arrived with the flamboyance of a Victorian conjurer”), and its vaulting ambition neatly overcomes the more unbelievable plot points. ~ , The Crack
This is a novel about the raw unhappiness of modern society and about an ancient vision of utopia. It is satirical and lyrical, funny and sad, sensuous and intellectual, gentle and traumatic, realistic and miraculous. It offers a sweeping perspective of different social solutions to the human predicament, from the modern city to the timeless village, from a monastery to a secular commune, from workaday to holiday, but while doing so touchingly explores a burgeoning love affair between its protagonists, with the result that it manages to feel epic and intimate at the same time. And uniting all the polarities of this marvellous novel is a sustained humanity and charm, a reverence for the world that might, in some non-doctrinal sort of way, be called religious.
~ Richard Francis