What happens when the European middle-classes come out to play on an upwardly mobile Greek island?

‘Kapotheni’ has transformed itself from a ruined and almost deserted island into a playground for tourists. These eighteen linked stories narrate the experiences of visitors and ex-pats, with a kaleidoscopic range of perspectives and moods. They highlight the funny, the sad, the tragic, the sinister, the weird and the erotic aspects of the lives and loves of the increasing crowds of middle-aged travellers and settlers, as they encounter the culture of a small Aegean community. An authentic reflection of the way of life and mores of a contemporary Greek island, these stories contain explicit sexual encounters. Possibly more shocking in this Age of Youth, they focus, with ironic humour, on the emotional lives of older women and illuminate the Greek appreciation of women, who can be celebrated and desired at any age.

“Not for the prudish… a touching, frank, brutally candid exposé of play in a paradise, away from home.”


Author of The Seventy Ninth Heresy,
Mary The Unauthorised Biography

“Shirley Valentine meets
Last Tango in Paris.”


Judge 2015 Exeter Short Story Prize
Author of Bright Stars, The Generation Game

“An idyllic island, glittering seas, blue skies, devious deeds. . .the stories are told with heart-piercing truth. Each one is a star in a deliciously dark firmament. Heaven is not just for the righteous.”


Author of Remotely and The Judas Inheritance

Populated with characters who appear and reappear in major and minor roles throughout the collection, the book explores the ways in which affection, love and lust forge links between diverse people, leading to a wide range of human response, from the insouciant behaviour of Ari in Nothing in Excess, to the shocking but ultimately therapeutic attentions of Mr Tav in The Beautiful Journey. The light and dark aspects of sexuality thread through these stories, behind which lies the island, where the small local community welcomes in the exhausted, the disillusioned, the sad and the lonely, giving warmth and hope to those who take the risk of meeting the new and the strange.


The Beautiful Journey was published in the 2015 Exeter Short Story Prize Collection (as Heaven), The Shore of the Morning Sea was published in The Ball of the Future Earlyworks Press 2014 (as Angela), One Candle (as Tom) was shortlisted in the Fish Short Story Prize 2014/15 and A Fabulous Caparison was longlisted in the Bath Short Story Award 2016.

Ann Butler Rowlands is a psychoanalyst and poet.

This is her first collection of stories, perfect for a read on the beach.