Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/09/24
ISBN 9781639365616
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 240

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Last Days in Plaka

A Novel

Henriette Lazaridis

An immersive and multifaceted novel—The Talented Mr. Ripley by way of Elena Ferrante—that explores the lies at the heart of an old woman’s identity and the desperation of a young woman’s struggle to belong.

Today's Athens is a city of contradictions and complexity—it is grand and scruffy, ancient and modern, full of strivers, refugees and old-timers—and nowhere more so than the neighborhood of Plaka, where the Parthenon looms overhead and two women grapple with what is right and what is true, and how to live your life when you are running out of time.

Searching for connection to her parents’ heritage, Greek-American Anna works at an Athens gallery by day and makes street art by night. Irini is elderly and widowed, once well-to-do but now dependent on the charity of others. When the local priest brings the two women together, it’s not long before they form an unlikely bond. Anna’s friends can’t understand why she spends so much time with the old woman, yet Anna becomes more and more consumed by Irini’s tales of a glamorous past. As they join the priest’s tiny congregation to study the Book of Revelations in preparation for a pilgrimage to Patmos, Anna sinks deeper into Irini’s stories of an estranged daughter and lost wealth and the earthquake damage to her noble home.

Looking for revelation of her own, and driven by a sense that time is running out, Anna makes a decision that puts her in peril, exposes Irini's web of lies, and compels Anna to confront the limits of her own forgiveness.

Henriette Lazaridis is the author ofThe Clover House, which was a Boston Globe bestseller. Her short work has appeared in ELLE, The New York Times, New England Review, The MillionsPangyrus, and more, and she has earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant. She is a graduate of Middlebury College, Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Pennsylvania. Having taught English at Harvard, she now teaches at GrubStreet in Boston. She founded The Drum Literary Magazine and currently runs the Krouna Writing Workshop in northern Greece. She writes the Substack newsletter The Entropy Hotel, at For more, visit

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Henriette Lazaridis weaves a deceiving and entrancing tale."

"Secrets, lies, and the vibrant backdrop of life in present-day Athens compel this elegantly written tale of two women—a Greek-American embarking on adult life, and her new friend who prefers the long-ago Athens of her memories. Lazaridis’ moving story opens into a consideration of faith and forgiveness as each woman examines how to apply the essential notion of grace to their complicated relationships."

Daphne Kalotay, author of The Archivists

"Henriette Lazaridis sets her gorgeously written new novel against the backdrop of heat-baked modern Athens, unfolding the story of two mesmerizingly complex women: an aging widow who depends on the kindness of others, and the young Greek-American glued to her Scheherazade like tales of previous grandeur. A true stunner about the lies we tell, the truths we hide and the female connections that transform us."

Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Days of Wonder
"A thoughtful and thought provoking encounter between two worlds, that of the elderly and that of the young. In this delicately drawn, unfurling narrative Henriette Lazaridis captures perfectly the contradictions of youth, the fine mix of equivocation, conviction, imprudence and self belief." Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness

“A stunning novel about an unlikely friendship that had me utterly enthralled. In luminous prose, Last Days in Plaka lays bare the yearnings of a trio of heartbreakingly human characters in modern-day Athens as they navigate a hot, deserted city haunted by memories and their own obscured agendas. A poignant, surprising read that will make you look more closely, and with greater tenderness, at the world around you.” Katrin Schumann, author of This Terrible Beauty
“This novel will find its audience of those who appreciate the subtlety of a gorgeous turn-of-phrase and expert tracking of an omniscient narrator who knows when to invoke the reader and when to extend their reach beyond the scene at hand. This book may not be able to call through the din of other more flashy tales in my head, but when it will call—and it will call—I look forward to hearing its voice again.” Jesse Hassinger, Odyssey Bookshop
“What Lazaridis calls her ‘strange little novel’ is a wonderful mix of coming of age, immigrant stories, and the pain that lurks behind crumbling facades.” Henrietta Thornton, FirstCLUE
Praise for Henriette Lazaridis

"At first, it’s the forbidding ice sheets of Antarctica, a 'place that offers beauty with a fist,' that dominate Henriette Lazaridis’s ingenious new novel. When the two strands of the narrative unite and then combust, the 'terra nova' of the novel’s title turns out to be a 'new world' not of the land but of the mind." New York Times Book Review
"As if Jack London and Anita Shreve had a literary baby: an absolutely immersive story of Antarctic survival, suffrage, a love triangle, art, and betrayal. Engrossing from the first moment to the last page, when you’ll immediately return to the beginning to start again." Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author
"The novel's strength lies in its impressive marriage of art and exploration. Lazaridis relishes in long, gorgeous descriptions of scenes and explanations of shot-framing and darkroom photo processing as intimate as a love letter. This underlying stream of artistic enchantment hits the mark and keeps the pages turning." Associated Press