Monday, September 17, 2018


Sofka Zinovieff studied social anthropology at Cambridge and carried out the research for her PhD in Greece. This marked the beginning of a lifelong involvement with the country.

She has lived in Moscow and Rome and worked as a freelance journalist and reviewer, writing mainly for British publications including The Telegraph Magazine, The Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, The Spectator, The Independent Magazine and The London Magazine.

After many years in Athens, she now divides her time between there and England. She is married and has two daughters.

Zinovieff applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Putney, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Greek eye bead in there. It’ll protect you – keep away the evil eye. They work, you know.’

As she waited on Putney Bridge for the bus home Jane glanced down at the bright-blue Greek eye staring out from her chest. She would never normally wear something as quirky and conspicuous as this. The panic had dissipated, but she felt as disoriented as if she’d been flung back in time and now inhabited the plump, hormonal flesh of her teenage self.
Page 69 of Putney isn’t as representative as I’d like, but it gives some clues. 50-year-old Jane has just visited her old best school friend Daphne after many years. She was horrified to see Daphne’s work-in-progress - a fabric collage that celebrates her 1970s childhood in Putney, and worse, her secret relationship with a much older married man. While Daphne says that there was nothing harmful about it, Jane feels physically ill after seeing the images of a wild-haired girl being led across Putney Bridge. A romance (as Daphne argues) or an abduction? It is Jane who will try to show Daphne how wrong she is and that a child cannot consent to a sexual relationship, even when she believes she was in love.

Jane always felt that Daphne was the slim, glamorous, adventurous “lovable” one in their youthful friendship and she easily slips back into feeling that even now, in middle age, she is gauche and takes up too much space. Her natural modesty extends to style, and the gaudy, home-made brooch that Daphne gives Jane (with a Greek bead resembling an eye – Daphne is half-Greek) just increases Jane’s sense of discomfort.
Visit Sofka Zinovieff's website.

My Book, The Movie: Putney.

Writers Read: Sofka Zinovieff.

--Marshal Zeringue