The Madness of Grief – Panayotis Cacoyannis
“Amazing piece of mesmerizing fiction.” – Yvonne Glasgow
“I loved the novel’s strangeness.” – Dimian
On the point of falling in love with her best friend Karl, Jane discovers that there’s more to her father’s spectacular girlfriend than at first meets the eye. In the sweltering heat of a fast-moving evening, other revelations quickly follow, reconciling her with her father but also reopening wounds from the past, laying bare raw emotions kept suppressed for too long.
And as the evening draws to a close, the night’s drama has only just begun, unfolding in a sequence of violent events that threaten to have lasting repercussions for Jane and the people she loves…
“The author has a knack for creating simplistic stories that quickly veer off the easy country road and speed away into metropolitan freeways that twist and turn. It’s brilliant.” – Chelsey McQuitty
Panayotis Cacoyannis was born and had a magical childhood growing up in a small seaside town in Cyprus. After two years as an army conscript (during which time the island suffered first a military coup and then an invasion), he travelled to Britain where he studied law at Oxford and qualified to practise at the Bar. Having then decided that he didn’t want to be a lawyer, he also graduated art school, and for many happy years he worked as a painter and sculptor, until a spell of artist’s block led to a very short course in creative writing.
His time now exclusively devoted to writing, The Dead of August was his first novel – a contemporary satire set in London, where he lives. His own experiences while working in the city as an artist, together with the colourful relationships of many of his friends, provided Panayotis with a wealth of material to draw on. Surprisingly all his friends are still talking to him, and none of them are planning to sue him. As well as receiving a starred Kirkus review, The Dead of August was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Books of 2015“.
Also set in modern-day London, Bowl of Fruit (1907) tells the story of a man with a fantastical talent, and of his epic, twenty-four-hour journey with a beautiful ghost-writer who knows more about his past than he does. Indie Reader named Bowl of Fruit (1907) one of its “Best Indie Books of 2015“, calling it “a magically original story” and “an incredible read“.
“Relieved, complicated, and strengthened by its trenchant observations of horrible people, along with black humour…” (Kirkus Reviews), POLK, HARPER & WHO is a contemporary story of complicated friendships and family relationships, and ultimately of the triumph of imperfect London love within imperfect London lives.
London 1969. While men are walking on the moon, a series of dramatic events threaten to have lasting repercussions for Jane and the people she loves… In another starred review, and naming it one of their “Indie Best Books of the Month” for June 2018, and then one of their “Best Books of 2018“, Kirkus Reviews have acclaimed The Madness of Grief as a “richly complicated, and deeply engaging coming-of-age tale.” Lightened by a touch of Panayotis’ familiar dark humour, “the story moves rapidly, contains a genuine mystery, and is thoroughly entertaining.” Casey Dorman – Lost Coast Review.
For the moment at least, Panayotis has no plans to embark on a fourth career. Aside from reading and writing, his favourite pastime is going to the movies, and ever since his friend/therapist/barber recommended The Sopranos, he has also discovered good TV. He travels to Cyprus often, to visit family and be near the sea.
“A powerful and rich storyline with an amazing set of characters.” – Marcia
Mr Magikoo’s Magik Shoppe had chaotically spilled over its old stock into every nook and cranny of the house, which made giving it a good and thorough clean an almost impossible task, to which for years auntie Ada was proud to have proved more than equal. But then came Mia-Mia, whose touch with housework was as magic as the best of the magic in Mr Magikoo’s Magik Shoppe, and even more magic than autie Ada’s. Not by working around it but instead by organising its untidiness, she kept the house as spotlessly clean as Mr Magikoo’s Magik Shoppe, for which feat she had got up auntie Ada’s nose and very little gratitude from Mr Magikoo. Although meticulous in matters of personal hygiene, my father had otherwise always been oblivious to dirt, and would have hardly been able to notice the difference. And it was no good auntie Ada going about the house with her finger, looking in corners for dust or behind things for pockets of grime – there were none to be found. There was no getting around it. Mia-Mia was a domestic goddess. By also making all the necessary arrangements for repairs, browbeating handymen until they were practically working for free (money was tight, and she wasn’t one for throwing it around), I was certain she had rescued house and shop from complete dereliction and possibly total collapse. And she was an excellent cook, which in the circumstances I had thought it wiser not to mention to auntie Ada.
“Beautiful! Every time I see you, you look even more like an angel.”
“Ha! Like a really chubby cherub, you mean.”
Auntie Ada vigorously shook her hands in my father’s direction as if to erase his sniggering stupidity. She and Mia-Mia were the only two people in the world I could think of who had ever said nice things about how I looked, things that I myself had never noticed. Even tonight, when Karl had appeared to harbour amorous intentions, he hadn’t made the slightest attempt to seduce me with words, as if I ought to have known to make do with his bare proposition. Although, consciously at least, I had never before thought about my friend in that way, I could have given a detailed physical description of him with my eyes closed. If anyone had asked him, would he have been able to say what shade of brown my hair was; or what length; or how strikingly my pale purple lips came to life when I smiled; or how delicately curved were my lashes and what colour were my eyes? His were an extraordinary blue that gleamed with iridescence…
“Don’t you pay any attention to his nonsense. You’re a healthy young girl, as pretty as the prettiest English rose. And you have your mother’s magnificent eyes, may God rest her beautiful soul.”
Auntie Ada never missed an opportunity of pinpointing anything in which I differed favourably from my father. After clamping my chin between fingers made crooked prematurely by arthritis, and tearful with a joining together of sadness and joy, she stared into my eyes open-mouthed, as though filling her lungs with a gust of reinvigorating mountain air.
“George’s are like painted jellied eels,” she snorted, bringing herself back to the world with a roaring guffaw not unlike that of her brother’s. And with her mouth still twisting mischievously, “Shifty, squinty, tiny and liquid,” she spat, pointing with a twitch of her nose at my father. Then tightening her grip of my cheeks, she turned back to face me, widening her lips into a smile as though to mark out the breadth of her love for me. “Whereas yours, well! They take one’s breath away with their brightness. Like giant wells of goodness they are, emerald jewels that sparkle like Val’s.”
“Wells are full of water,” my father puffed while shifting in his chair, still behind The Weekly Magic News. “And giant wells are even more liquid than eels.”
“It’s true, auntie Ada.” After using it to rub an eye with, I held out the hook of my left index finger.
Auntie Ada let go of my face to slap with both hands the contrary evidence out of the way. “Your eyes are pellucid,” she said. And then hissing at the back page of The Weekly Magic News, “Whereas his are more like the miasma of a swamp.”
“The events cover a mere several days, but their impact is Titanic on the lives of those in Jane’s immediate circle. Jane seems to be the only one who is sure about who she is, yet it is her life and the changes in her perception of those who surround her, that are the focus of the book.” – Casey Dorman