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Three Summers

Three Summers

by Margarita Liberaki, translated from the Greek by Karen Van Dyck

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July 2019 selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club.

Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a big old house surrounded by a beautiful garden are Maria, the oldest sister, as sexually bold as she is eager to settle down and have a family of her own; beautiful but distant Infanta; and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents and other members of the tribe of adults, take note of the weird ways of friends and neighbors, worry about and wonder who they are. Karen Van Dyck’s translation captures all the light and warmth of this modern Greek classic.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681373300
Pages: 264
Publication Date:


A leisurely, largehearted coming-of-age novel, earthy and innocent, nostalgic and beautifully rendered.

Liberaki . . . certainly wrote unlike others of her generation. . . . [Three Summers] pushed the bounds of the possible: juggling narrative voices and modes, upending expectations for a conventional narrative arc, folding scenes of teenage sex into a book published in 1946.
—Karen Emmerich, Public Books

Over and above . . . innovation in the form of the Greek novel, Liberaki also made what we might consider a feminist political contribution to Greek letters. Following Woolf, she captures life as it is lived in small "moments of being," especially of female domestic rituals . . . translating these private moments into the public language that had effectively been forbidden to Greek women.
—Niko Maragos, Electric Literature

Makes for an appealing and quite rich novel of young women's lives—with interesting secondary characters and stories, too—with some creative twists and touches by Liberaki in how she presents and unfolds her tale. . . . the writing is strong and often arresting. A nice piece of work.
The Complete Review

In this unforgettable novel, lush and evocative passages are interspersed with candid, astringent, and often unsettling insights about adolescence, desire, and the mysterious web of human relationships. Margarita Liberaki’s sensuousness has an edge, and her tartness has a compelling sweetness. Enthralled, the reader moves deeper and deeper into her summery world.
—Rachel Hadas

This cinematic, sun-drenched novel about innocence and experience depicts a vanished era of bourgeois pleasures against the gardens and olive groves of one of Athens’s oldest suburbs. The mores of Athenian society are in tension with the drives and abundance of the Greek landscape itself: even the orderly pistachio orchards, with their male and female trees yearning for communion, vibrate with sex, heat, color, flavor, and scent. Karen Van Dyck’s translation vividly reenacts Liberaki’s color-saturated prose.
—A.E. Stallings

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