Mani


I'm currently reading Patrick Leigh Fermor's book
Mani (thanks to those who recommended him!), and reveling in the language. Not just the Greek words, or his description of the miroloyia, but his use of English words. Any given page is rich with language and not at all overwrought:

The solid rock of the Mani breaks through the sparse stubble fields in bleached shoulders and whales' backs and tall leaning blades of mineral and all is white as bone. Sometimes groups of these blades cluster so thick that they give the illusion of whole villages; but when you reach them after clambering a score of walls, there they are in all their bare senselessness: fortuitous dolmens and cromlechs and menhirs. Once in a while, however, the wreck of an almost prehistoric ghost-village does appear: a sudden gathering of walls, the shells of half troglodytic houses with broken slab-roofs and thresholds only to be entered on all fours, the rough-hewn blocks pitched headlong by wild olive and cactus with only a rough cross incised on a lintel or a carved identifiable animal to indicate that they date from later than the stone age.
The sort of 'Catalogue of Ships' four pages in was a clue -- two pages detailing the idiosyncratic peoples to be found throughout Greece, echoing the catalogue of the Achaean ships launched in pursuit of Helen -- this is someone who revels in the Greek language.

There are lovely parentheticals ("in the old days (that wonderful cupboard!)") and he is also quite fond of the word 'troglodyte.' Just the reading I wanted this summer.