An immersive and multifaceted novel—The Talented Mr. Ripley by way of Elena Ferrante—that explores the lies at the heart of an old woman’s identity and the desperation of a young woman’s struggle to belong.

Today's Athens is a city of contradictions and complexity—it is grand and scruffy, ancient and modern, full of strivers, refugees and old-timers—and nowhere more so than the neighborhood of Plaka, where the Parthenon looms overhead and two women grapple with what is right and what is true, and how to live your life when you are running out of time.

Searching for connection to her parents’ heritage, Greek-American Anna works at an Athens gallery by day and makes street art by night. Irini is elderly and widowed, once well-to-do but now dependent on the charity of others. When the local priest brings the two women together, it’s not long before they form an unlikely bond. Anna’s friends can’t understand why she spends so much time with the old woman, yet Anna becomes more and more consumed by Irini’s tales of a glamorous past. As they join the priest’s tiny congregation to study the Book of Revelations in preparation for a pilgrimage to Patmos, Anna sinks deeper into Irini’s stories of an estranged daughter and lost wealth and the earthquake damage to her noble home.

Looking for revelation of her own, and driven by a sense that time is running out, Anna makes a decision that puts her in peril, exposes Irini's web of lies, and compels Anna to confront the limits of her own forgiveness.

About the author(s)

Henriette Lazaridis is the author of The Clover House (a Boston Globe bestseller), Terra Nova (which the New York Times called “ingenious”), and Last Days in Plaka (publishing April 2024). She earned degrees in English literature from Middlebury College, Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Pennsylvania. Having taught English at Harvard, she now teaches at GrubStreet in Boston. She was the founding editor of The Drum Literary Magazine and runs the Krouna Writing Workshop in northern Greece. Her essays and articles have been published in ElleForge, Narrative MagazineThe New York TimesNew England ReviewThe Millions, and Pangyrus, and earned her a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant. An avid athlete, Henriette trains on the Charles River as a competitive rower, and skis, trail runs, or cycles whenever she can. She writes about athletic and creative challenges at The Entropy Hotel on Substack. Visit her website:   


"Henriette Lazaridis weaves a deceiving and entrancing tale." 



“Secrets, lies, and the vibrant backdrop of life in present-day Athens compel this elegantly written tale of two women. Lazaridis’ moving story opens into a consideration of faith and forgiveness as each woman examines how to apply the essential notion of grace to their complicated relationships.”

“A gorgeously written new novel set against the backdrop of heat-baked modern Athens, unfolding the story of two mesmerizingly complex women: an aging widow who depends on the kindness of others, and the young Greek-American glued to her Scheherazade like tales of previous grandeur. A true stunner about the lies we tell, the truths we hide and the female connections that transform us.”

"A thoughtful and thought provoking encounter between two worlds, that of the elderly and that of the young. In this delicately drawn, unfurling narrative Henriette Lazaridis captures perfectly the contradictions of youth, the fine mix of equivocation, conviction, imprudence and self belief."

Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness