photo by Johanna Weber

Rhea Galanaki was born in Crete in 1947. She studied history and archaeology at the University of Athens. She has published three novels, which have been through several editions, as well as short stories, essays and poems.
The first novel, The Life of Ismail Ferik Pasha, was published in June 1989 and was translated in France, England, Turkey, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Germany.
In 1999 she was short-listed
for the 'Aristeion' European Literature Prize.



NOVEL (200 pages, 17.5X12 cm.)

Recent world events make this story tragically poignant. The Life of Ismail Ferik Pasha focuses on the clash of opposing civilizations, of Christianity and Ottoman Islam.
A small boy is taken prisoner by the Sultan's forces in Crete in the first half of the nineteenth century. He is subsequently brought up as a Muslim in the Egypt of Mohammed Ali, and eventually rises to the rank of Pasha. His return to Crete in order to put down a rebellion by the Christian inhabitants of the island proves to be his downfall, for it is while on campaign there that he meets a mysterious death. These broad contours provide the setting in which Rea Galanaki explores the contest of cultures through a gaze untainted by prejudice or nationalist distortions.
Galanaki focuses on the human drama, combining historical fact with local legend. The return or 'nostalgia' of Odysseus of old takes on new meaning in the return of Ismail Ferik Pasha to his native Crete, and new symbolic meaning is lent to the old problem of the clash of two worlds. Her treatment of the whole theme is dense and sober, yet rich in feeling.
It is no accident that this story, generally considered a milestone in contemporary Greek letters and translated into a number of other languages, was the first Greek novel to be listed in UNESCO's Collection of Representative Works.





French, English and German editions of The Life of Ismail Ferik Pasha