For a first book it is an astounding read that he can take great pride in. It is very well researched, meticulously planned and beautifully written, with varied content from the past to the present day. In particular his account of Economic and Political upheaval in Greece is masterfully presented. Greco Files paints a historical and personal picture of Greece and is a real eye opener for the non Grecophile. It was ‘All Greek To Me’ prior to reading it but not any more. I am sure it will do well. Congratulations.
by Bob Brewer
This book should have a wide appeal! For those who love travelling ,to the adventurers who relish the trials and tribulations of setting up a new home in a foreign country, as well as for lovers of modern and classical literature….this has it all. Not least set against the political strains of the current day. The personal journey of John and Mary dovetails so neatly with these topics and is presented in chapters that you could just dip into like a box of chocolates . I loved both the soft centres and the nutty kernels !
by Margaret Jewell
Greco Files is the unfolding of a long and continuing love affair with Greece. An interesting journey in an adopted country. A journey of excitement, achievement and enrichment. If you want, with some hyperbole, a mini adventure in the way to Ithaka. Sometimes it takes the form of a direct and active part in a number of personal projects: renovating an old (Greek) house and an old (Greek) boat, learning the Greek language and developing a business of buying and selling Greek products. In other chapters the book deals with recurring major issues facing Greece such as the summer fires and scarcity of water or the highs of sporting achievements and lows of economic crises. The last chapter, on the meaning of Greekness, I find the most personal and entertaining. The author becomes lyrical about the Greek light, the sun, the sea and their effect on his personality: better metabolism and mental health, active brains in good working order, more tactile and carefree, broaden horizons and I might add a desire to share his experiences with others in the form of a book. How about the UK? He nearly forgot. The day-to-day wellbeing of the patient in the ward is different in the two countries. Better in the UK? John would only say "It's a cultural difference the way it's always been done." It's obvious John is so much in love with Greece he wants to become a stakeholder in the enterprise called Greece, to partake in the life of Greeks. He has become a bit of a Greek, a Greekish. The book is very well written and structured, is direct and unpretentious, always finding the apposite word for the occasion and an effortless twist of phrase when needed. As a non practical man I felt there was too much detail on the process of renovating the house and also the process of curing Kalamata olives. But I did not skip anything. I found it a pleasure to read.
by George Hadjimatheou
In ‘Greco Files’ John Hayes explores the four elements: air, water, fire, earth, and links them to the experiences of two Brits who moved to the Mani Peninsula and became immersed in the Greek way of life. John and his wife, Mary, are the ‘philes’ of the title – lovers of Greece. Greek history, geography and language are explored in an engaging and informative way and interwoven with descriptions of day-to-day living as an expat. Sometimes scholarly, sometimes amusing, the book is overall a deeply affectionate and readable homage to Greece.
by Lorraine Matthews
John Hayes retired in 1997 after a lifetime working in British secondary schools. Since then he and his wife have divided their lives between the small North Devon town of Torrington and the village of Neohori in southern Greece's Mani peninsula.
His first book, Greco Files: a Brit's-Eye View of Greece was published by Matador in September 2021. It is part memoir and part commentary and traces the ups and downs he and his wife experience as they fashion a new chapter in their lives in a Greek village as the 21st century unfolds.