On a Greek Island, a Bookstore With Some Mythology of Its Own


And but, the story of Atlantis isn’t with out its mythic components.

It has a muse-inspired (O.Okay., booze-inspired) origin. Mr. Walzer and a buddy got here up with the thought throughout a go to to the island throughout a break from Oxford in 2002. It has a nice journey: a van trip with fellow founders from Britain to Santorini, throughout which Mr. Walzer learn John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden,” the tattered copy of which is saved within the again like a talisman close to a signed, plastic-wrapped galley of “Infinite Jest,” by David Foster Wallace.

It has no scarcity of twists and turns. An authentic location beneath the ramparts of a 13th-century fortress constructed by Venetians closed, and the founders had been compelled to rebuild the store in a ruined captain’s home. Love pursuits got here and went. (“Love Stories, for Suckers” reads the label within the retailer’s romance part.) One of Mr. Walzer’s ingesting buddies, the writer Jeremy Mercer, injected a dose of deus ex machina in 2005, when The Guardian requested him for his favourite bookstores and he topped his record with Atlantis.

“We had no business being on that list,” Mr. Walzer mentioned. “Now I think we do.”

And Mr. Walzer himself stands in because the tortured hero. He left the island in 2005, enrolled and dropped out of Harvard’s Kennedy School and its legislation faculty, then “went underground essentially” in New Orleans. He discovered his means, and returned to Santorini and his bookshop for good in 2011. Survival led to success, however because the store flourished the actual property fates descended. In 2015, landlords threatened eviction except Mr. Walzer got here up with a million euros to counter an obvious provide on the constructing.

But since worldwide protection on the time raised the alarm that Atlantis might be misplaced once more, Mr. Walzer hasn’t heard again from the dreaded landlords. He mentioned he’s nonetheless working with out a lease.

“One day the bell will toll,” he mentioned. “But not today, because it’s Sunday afternoon.”

And it was a pretty one. As he sat on the shop’s terrace, with the shimmering Aegean filling the Caldera on one facet and vacationers flowing like lava down Oia’s slender sundown boulevard on the opposite, Mr. Walzer rolled a cigarette. He regarded with contentment on the sea and the folks scanning a blue shelf of used books.



Source link Nytimes.com

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