‘Falling for Icarus: A Journey Among the Cretans’

A few years ago on a windy spring morning in an ancient Cretan village surrounded by mountains, I fell to earth. My mother had died a few months earlier and a single obsession had risen from my grief: the notion to build a feather-light flying machine. And so, on the island where Daedalus and Icarus had made man’s maiden flight, I journeyed back to beginnings, back into the Greek myths, and – with the help of my neighbours and plenty of effervescent wine – built a plane and tried to fly.

‘Falling for Icarus’ is at once a meditation on love, a celebration of the passion for flight and a portrait of the Cretans. These remarkable people — including villagers Apostoli, a bat-eared Greek god in a golden flying suit, dreamy, dying Aphrodite, Yioryio the irrepressible cafĂ© owner and Nikos the Winged Priest with his tall stories of life as an air steward — became my friends. Their kindness and rootedness restored my faith in life. Their understanding and raw, unpredictable, admirable energy enabled me to give wings to a dream. A dream that transformed sadness.

‘Falling for Icarus’ was chosen as a Book of the Year by Colin Thubron in the Sunday Telegraph, Jan Morris in the Spectator and Anthony Sattin in the Sunday Times.

‘The heart-warming evocation of one man’s loving obsession: lyrical, funny, compassionate’ – Colin Thubron

‘an extraordinary work, curious and entertaining, tantilizing, often moving and above all entirely original — like everything he writes, it’s in a genre of its own’ – Jan Morris

‘An intimate geography of the author’s own heart and a masterly observation of the power of the story to comfort, strengthen and transform the hearts of humanity at large. Destined to become a classic.’ – James Jauncey, The Scotsman

Now check out the photo gallery below or watch the YouTube video — then pour yourself an ouzo and ask, ‘But will it fly?’

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‘Falling for Icarus’ is available in Tauris Parke Paperbacks. It was first published by Penguin in the UK, BB Art in the Czech Republic and Sartorio Editore in Italy.