Pub. Date:
A Room in Athens: A Memoir

A Room in Athens: A Memoir

by Frances Karlen Santamaria Ms

Paperback(New edition)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


First published in 1970, A Room in Athens is the remarkable journal of a free-spirited, young American woman abroad in Greece with her writer husband in 1964. Inspired by the sixties’ vogue for the exuberant land of Zorba and Lawrence Durrell, they seek an Aegean idyll–but their plans threaten to go awry when she learns she is pregnant. Settling in Athens, she gives birth to a boy at the country’s only natural-childbirth clinic–an underground refuge ruled by a mysterious Madame Kladaki. Afterward, as a new mother in a strange land, she struggles to reconcile the myth of Greece, ancient and modern, with contemporary Athens, even while their idyll recedes. In 1974, A Room in Athens was excerpted in the landmark anthology Revelations: Diaries of Women. This new edition, with an Introduction by the author’s son, unlocks a little-known gem in women’s memoir literature for a new generation.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780989835299
Publisher: Tatra Press
Publication date: 10/21/2016
Edition description: New edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Frances Karlen Santamaria (1937–2013) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, attended Antioch College, and spent most of her life living in New York City. Primarily a writer of fiction and plays, this was her only published work before she was debilitated by multiple sclerosis, in her early forties. She was married twice and had five children.

What People are Saying About This

Tristine Rainer

“This beautifully written woman’s diary deserves to be read by many generations of new mothers
to come.”—Tristine Rainer, author, The New Diary and Your Life as Story

Paula Michaels

“A compelling memoir...With warmth and an authentic, relatable voice the author
touches on marriage, gender relations, national identity, and life as an expatriate in ways
that both reflect the zeitgeist of the 1960s and are strikingly resonant today.”
Paula Michaels, author, Lamaze: An International History

Barbara Hodgson

One of the most fascinating aspects of early women’s travel—the complication of being female—was long considered too delicate a topic for print and was rarely mentioned in published personal journals. Thank goodness for the frankness of the twentieth century. In this diary by Frances Karlen Santamaria, pregnancy and the birth of her first child are at the heart of her voyage to Athens of 1964 -- a place far removed from her experience and knowledge. Both engrossing and perceptive, her diary gives us a portrait of an Athens few visitors have experienced and a rare view of what it’s like to be an expectant traveler and new mother far from home.

--Barbara Hodgson, author, No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers

arbara Hodgson

“Both engrossing and perceptive...a portrait of an Athens few visitors have experienced.”
—Barbara Hodgson, author, No Place for a Lady:
Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers

Charlotte Painter

“[A Room in Athens] has the economy of a fine line drawing of mother and child...
Any reader must be moved by its grace and nourishing spirit. “

Nia Georges

Karlen Santamaria’s engagingly written diary, reflecting on her experiences of daily life, pregnancy, and natural childbirth in Athens of the 1960s, offers a unique and intimate portrait of a young American woman’s encounter with cultural differences.

--Nia Georges, author, Bodies of Knowledge:The Medicalization of Reproduction in Greece

Customer Reviews