130 x 198 x 25mm
Ithaca. I cannot recall the first time I heard the word. It has always been there like an ancient longing welling up from the sea.
Xanthe is drawn to Ithaca, the birthplace of her father Manoli and her maternal grandfather Mentor. She is translating Mentor's manuscript, his story of leaving Ithaca and his life in Australia: fleeing the Kalgoorlie riots, working in Melbourne coffee houses with his compatriots, studying in the State Library, and learning to dream his way back to Ithaca and back to his lost son.
Slowly she begins to understand her father's dark moods. The lure of the sea and the promise of fortune. And the ache for the sea and the island.
Through Mentor's manuscript and Xanthe's memories, we meet many people and hear their stories, spanning more than a century. We follow the lives of Manoli and his brother Andreas, who, as teenagers in the 1930s, build a boat and ferry passengers and freight across the Ionian Sea. We meet Antonios Lekatsas and learn of his partnership with architect Walter Burley Griffin to design some of Melbourne's most creative buildings. And we hear the stories of the women who waited on Ithaca while their men sought fortune in Australia.
Sea of Many Returns is a profound meditation on displacement, nostalgia and exile—a story that affirms the enduring resonance of the Odyssey for voyagers of all times.