hi, my name is alexis kozak. i'm a playwright. i live in new jersey. i also teach high school theatre arts (and english once in a while). i just finished my mfa in playwriting at boston university this year.
and, i just finished The Pale Surface of Things.
now, my wife is greek-american. we went to crete for our honeymoon. we started on the eastern side (agio nikolao, spinalonga, etc.) and then spent a week in Chania (the samarian gorge was a favorite).
so, i wanted to tell you that i immensely enjoyed the novel. i think you really managed to capture the feeling of what it was like on crete. such a different feeling from the other islands we'd been to in the cyclades, and a whole different ball game from the mainland. i'm going to pass it on to the rest of her greek family.
anyway, again, kudos on a wonderful book.
“It's wonderful! The Pale Surface of Things is a hundred times more engaging and inner and better than most writing.”
My Lord Bag of Rice: New and Selected Stories
Read the letter from Carol Bly
"It was a wonderful read, absorbing, exciting, satisfactory and wise and superbly written!"
—Doris ‘Granny D.’ Haddock
Articulate activist for campaign finance reform
Walking Across America in my 90th Year
You’re Never Too Old To Raise a Little Hell
"Janey Bennett makes a startlingly fine debut as a novelist with THE PALE SURFACE OF THINGS. …. Bennett creates a propulsive novel that is a most satisfying read on many levels. Crete, in so many ways, is the main character in the novel, and Bennett knows her way around her stage as well as anyone who writes. THE PALE SURFACE OF THINGS is a solid, intoxicating novel that gently reminds the reader of the importance of philosophical issues and the way they mold lives. It is a smart, entertaining, superb novel!"
Top 10 Reviewer, Amazon.com
Click here for complete review
"I love this book! I've sold it to teenage boys and to grandmothers. Everyone can find a level of story to enjoy. I wish I had more books like this!"
Owner, BookBay Bookstore, Freeland, Washington
"Congratulations! The Pale Surface of Things is a wonderful book. It combines just about everything I look for in a novel---people I really like who manage to live up to challenges and grow, discussions of moral and ethical principles that actually sound like something my friends and I might carry on, vivid descriptions of places and cultures I might get a chance to go to someday, intelligent ,interesting prose AND archeology. Wow!! I loved it. I work at Lummi Island Library and am very happy to tell you that many of our patrons have also read and loved the book."
"There is meaning,
often profound spiritual meaning, lurking under the
surface of this tale."
Assistant Professor of Classics, Western Washington University
Click here for complete review
"I just emerged from the Pale Surface of Things. As an art conservator with years of experience
on excavations in the Mediterranean, I made a direct connection with the author's analogy of
revealing personal history by slowly peeling away old layers of whitewash from wall paintings.The book has a wonderful structure. I was taken into the world of the main character and the
people he met on Crete, as they dug below surfaces and witnessed changed. The gentle tale of
discovery told by Janey Bennett captured my imagination and fueled my desire for another
Greek island adventure."
Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts
New York University
"The Pale Surface of Things reads like a tapestry of textures weaving emotional, spiritual, cultural, and familial threads into an engrossing glimpse of life in a traditional Cretan village. Bennett’s tale encompasses the dichotomies of life: human frailty and resilience, belonging and alienation, forgiveness and redemption, shame and courage. A fast paced novel that will transport you into the lives of unforgettable characters and a cherished ancient landscape."
—Nicholas Zaferatos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Urban Planning. Huxley College of the Environment
Western Washington University.
“Superb imagination. Wonderful interweaving. High moral principles. Good reading for everyone.”
—Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada)
“You certainly captured the essence of the Cretan soul and spirit. I also strongly related to the characters and the setting as my father was a priest. (Our) family emigrated to American in 1947 from Chania, Crete as a result of the German invasion/WWII events in Crete.”
Cretans' Association of Seattle
“The Pale Surface of Things resonates with vitality and authenticity. The story is suspenseful and the dialogue reflects the true voices of the villages of Crete."
—Harry Mark Petrakis
A Dream of Kings and Legends of Glory
"I heard Ms. Bennett give a reading on Sunday and was mesmorized by The Pale Surface of Things’s style and its subject. It is set in a Cretan village to which a young Greek American returns as priest. His family had, like so many Greek families, come to America (California) several decades earlier. Not only [do we see] his re-connection with the present-day village, the young priest is enmeshed in the earlier history of the village, especially memories of German occupation in WWII but also going right back to Minoan culture. I am going to recommend it to many people - students, friends, colleagues.”
—Carol Thomas, Professor of Greek History and Chair Hellenic Studies Program, University of Washington
"What colours underneath the surface! An inspiring, deep, and thought-provoking novel,
written with seductive lightness. A tour de force!. Bravo!"
—Anna Paulina Eklöf
Film director, Singer in the Nordic Night
“I really liked the narratives involving a number of characters. Indeed, I was happy to ‘meet’ such an interesting cast. . . . Although foreigners talk about the so-called ‘simple life’ of villages, The Pale Surface of Things makes it clear that village life is anything but simple.”
Archaeologist, Co-director of The Sphakia Survey, Crete
Making a Landscape Sacred: Outlying Churches and Icon
Stands in sphakia, Southwestern Crete
Bellingham author Janey Bennett, in her first novel, cleverly braids the lives of a runaway groom, a Greek village priest and a small boy into a twisted rope of despair, hope and forgiveness. Set on the Greek island of Crete, a small village becomes the backdrop for a fast-moving plot that spins the reader through a tale of violence, lies, truth and the strength of the human spirit. Well-written, The Pale Surface of Things is a great read well worth your attention. I recommend this novel for book clubs as well as independent readers.
—Title Talk, a quarterly newsletter, Whatcom County Library
"I shouldn't have started reading your book last night after the meeting...I didn't want to put it down.
Wow. It's so rich and layered and entertaining! Congratulations. Truly impressive."
Raston Publishing, LLC.
I was just wondering if it will be printed in Greek?
I would like to purchase it for my mom.
I know she will enjoy it as much as I did.
— Errie Teevan