Wild Abandon

A Journey to the Deserted Places of the Dodecanese'

by Jennifer Barclay 

Wild Abandon – Holiday reads and travel literature. Escape with seasoned travel writer Jennifer Barclay as she walks with her dog and her backpack exploring the deserted places of Greece’s Dodecanese islands, including Tilos, Nisyros, Kos, Kalymnos, Astypalea, Rhodes, Kastellorizo, Halki, Karpathos, Kasos and Arki.

Published:  01st Sep 2020
Size:  130 X 198 mm
Edition:  1
Number of pages:  272
Format AvailableQuantityPrice
ISBN: 9781784776961
In stock
£9.99 £8.99
eBook (ePUB)
ISBN: 9781784777906
£4.99 £4.49

About this book

“A vivid and intoxicating account of these beautiful islands” – Victoria Hislop.
“A must-read for anyone who loves the Greek islands” – Richard Clark

‘There’s something about abandoned places which moves me and captures the imagination.’ So says seasoned travel writer Jennifer Barclay as she walks with her dog and her backpack through the deserted spaces of the Dodecanese, islands that were once bustling but are now half forgotten and reclaimed by the wild due to a mix of misfortune and the lure of opportunity elsewhere. Join her on a journey through abandoned villages and farms, cave-houses and captains’ mansions, the homes of displaced Muslim fishermen and poets, as she discovers beauty in the ruins, emptiness and silence, and inspiration in the stories of people’s lives.
A long-term resident of Greece, Jennifer Barclay spent more than four years researching Wild Abandon, visiting islands multiple times and talking to local people to hear their stories. She travels from the very west to the very east of the Dodecanese, from the very south almost to the very north, taking in some of the smallest and the biggest islands, and highlighting different stories along the way to show the complex history behind these havens of tranquillity. She discovers a villa intended for Benito Mussolini’s retirement, an island that links a gramophone from St Petersburg and a portrait in the American National Gallery via a pack of cigarettes, and reflects on the days when an economy based on sponges and burnt rock supported thousands.
Wild Abandon is an elegy in praise of abandoned places and a search for lost knowledge through the wildest and most deserted locations.

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About the Author

After growing up in a village in the Pennines, Jennifer Barclay studied Ancient Greek at grammar school and English at Oxford. She then lived for a year in Athens and has travelled widely in the Greek islands, settling on Tilos, a small island in the Dodecanese, in 2011 to work from home and write. She now lives surrounded by hills and the sea, travelling often to other islands with her dog, Lisa. She has written about her life in Greece in her books Falling in Honey and An Octopus in my Ouzo, and in publications including The Times, Metro, The Daily Mail and Psychologies. She has appeared on Greek television and been interviewed across Greek media, and given talks to the Scottish Hellenic Society.


“A vivid and intoxicating account of these beautiful islands” – Victoria Hislop.

“Jennifer Barclay takes the reader on a delightful serendipitous journey along paths less well trodden in the Dodecanese. She is an engaging travelling companion whose knowledge of and affection for the islands she holds dear shines through. Wild Abandon is a must read for anyone who loves the Greek Islands.”
Richard Clark, author of The Lost Lyra and The Greek Islands Notebook.

“I loved it, it’s a magical book; and so great to be taken beyond the tourist enclaves by someone who knows these islands and their history so well. Barclay travels and writes with wonderful energy, affection and honesty and I was transported by to the dusty tracks and into the cool waves with her and her dog Lisa. She travels with a brave freedom that so many of us will envy – a three-day journey to one island turning into a year and a half – and this allows her to dig beneath the surface and tell us the stories, the real stories, of these out-of-the-way places that take time to emerge. Highly recommended… ” – Iain Campbell, author From the Lion’s Mouth

“(Jennifer Barclay’s) solitary wanderings, her constant contact with nature. and her attachment to simplicity and freedom render her book exceptionally timely.” – Greece Is magazine

“Adored this absolute gem of a book. I dare you to read it and not immediately want to move to Greece.”
Charlie Carroll, author of ‘The Friendship Highway and The Lip’

“This is a beautiful and well researched book documenting in superb detail the rugged charm, changing landscape, and the tumultuous history of the Dodecanese islands. You can almost smell the wild oregano and taste the saganaki cheese. This is a must read for anyone visiting the area, and for anyone interested in modern Greek history.”
Atulya K Bingham, The Mud Home blog

Additional Information

Table of Contents

Ghosts and Goats: Tilos
The Maker and Breaker of Fortunes: Nisyros
Faith in Water: Kos
Gold in the Sea: Kalymnos
Bee Windows and Burning Rocks: Astypalea
When the Bird Flies: Rhodes
Bridge of Light: Kastellorizo
Clouds over Olympos: Karpathos
No More than Stories: Kasos
Roads to Nowhere: Halki
Enough: Arki
Refuge: Tilos
Dodecanese History: Some Key Dates
Resources and Further Reading
What We Leave Behind

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