Pomegranate Years: A Journal of Aging, Art, Love, and Loss on a Greek Island

Sarah Kafatou (Author)

Product Details

$18.95  $17.43
Paul Dry Books
Publish Date
October 08, 2019
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.4 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

Sarah Kafatou was born in New York City, and has lived in the USA, the UK, Germany, and Greece. She studied English and American Literature and Classical Greek at Harvard University, painting at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and poetry at the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. She has published poems, essays, and a book in Greek, and has taught at Harvard and the University of Heidelberg. She was married to Fotis Kafatos, a highly distinguished Greek biologist, and has two daughters and four grandchildren. She divides her time between Crete and Cambridge, Massachusetts.


"I'd expected Pomegranate Years to be a lyrical account of the long heartache of gradually losing a beloved husband to Alzheimer's disease. What I found was unexpected, rare, and a revelation. Sarah Kafatou has given us a gentle-paced, keen-eyed lesson, day by day, in how to live as we get older. As a friend of the author put it, the journal is 'restful and stimulating all at once.' Pomegranate Years is often joyful; it is always inspiring."--Rachel Hadas, author of Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry and Poems for Camilla

"Pomegranate Years is full of the deepest questions: How should we live? How do we choose what to do--in our hours, in our lives, and in the days when the one we love is dying? What should we learn? (At this point in the author's life, Beethoven and Arabic, among many other things.) Gorgeous descriptions of hiking in Crete interweave with thoughts on painting, piano (both playing and composition), poetry, fiction, literary translation (particularly Pushkin), history, and politics. Kafatou's voice is compelling, inviting one to read further, read again. And with each re-reading one sees new ways to think about one's own life. This brilliant and evocative memoir is an inspiration."--Grace Dane Mazur author of The Garden Party

"Six weeks before the celebrated scientist Fotis Kafatos died of Alzheimer's disease, his wife Sarah noted that the pomegranates in her Cretan garden 'are ripe, and Persephone will be eating her handful of seeds.' Whoever eats even a single pomegranate seed will overcome distress. Accordingly, Sarah Kafatou's journal focuses less on loss than on coping. Recorded so well here, these three pomegranate years reveal their Persephone emulating Milton's Eve who, hand in hand with Adam when expelled from Eden, wiped away her tears."--Peter Bien, Emeritus Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Dartmouth College, and past President of the Modern Greek Studies Association

"When news that the exceptional scientist Fotis Kafatos had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease reached his many friends and colleagues, the only consolation was the devoted presence of his talented wife Sarah. In this diary, she recounts how she maintained his dignity and her own, as he set forth, an Odysseus destined not to return to his Penelope. It is a moving story, honestly told."--Harold Varmus, author of The Art and Politics of Science, Nobel Prize-winning scientist, former Director of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute

"It is a serious joy to read this book. Every page is alive: measured and humane, perceptive, reflective, and upbeat in its compassionate and dignified approach to mortality. It speaks plainly, in a level, discerning voice, of the day-to-day art of living, and is as lucid and open to experience as the Greek light under which it was written."--George Kalogeris, author of Dialogos: Paired Poems in Translation and Guide to Greece