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Barbara Bonfigli and Cafe Tempest

Visit any bookstore and you see shelves of memoirs. Most are true, but a few slip through that turn out to be false. You won't have to worry about being "tricked" by author Barbara Bonfigli's Cafe Tempest--she makes it clear right on the cover that it is a fictional memoir. My first thought on reading those words was "Wow--gives a whole new meaning to creating memories!"


Welcome to Pharos, a small Greek island with no airport but plenty of means of escape. It’s a sparkling necklace of turquoise bays and sun-laced platias, where ice trays are still being test-marketed and donkeys have the right of way.

Your guide is Sarah, an independent thirty-something American writer and theatrical producer living in London. She's just had a hit in the West End and a breakup with her boyfriend, and she's returning to her favorite laid-back island to recover her equanimity

Accompanied by her good friend Alexandra, Sarah throws herself into the vacationer’s art of swimming, daydreaming, and sharing an ouzo with her Greek pals. One is Theo, an aspiring suitor and Pharos’s only doctor. When he recruits her to direct the islanders’ summer play, she chooses Shakespeare’s The Tempest. What follows is a hilarious adventure in casting, rehearsing, and consuming, as she becomes entangled with a bunch of locals who are excited about acting but delirious about eating. Their rehearsals in a deconsecrated church become a feast in four acts.

Armed with a sizzling wit, a dangerously limited Greek vocabulary, and a pitch-perfect ear for drama, Sarah navigates the major egos and minor storms of a cab driver Caliban, a postmaster Prospero, and a host of fishermen dukes and knaves.

When she falls in love, there are even trickier seas to navigate. Her own offstage romance provides an exhilarating, unpredictable counterpoint to Shakespeare’s tale of magic, intrigue, and the power of love.Illustrations by Gaia FranchettiClassic Greek Recipes remastered by Ana Espinosa

Cafe Tempest is a fictional memoir. All the names have been changed to confound the litigious and to keep away anyone not bio-degradable. A small glossary will keep you in the picture when the local color gets especially bright.

About Barbara Bonfigli:

Barbara Bonfigli—author, lyricist, theatrical producer—hitchhiked to Greece in her first nomadic summer and discovered her native land. She’s been exploring it ever since -- hiking in the Pelion, kayaking in the Dodecanese, sailing the Aegean. She wore out five passports and four continents before settling down on a mythical Greek island to uncork her memories, her imagination and a bottle or two of retsina. The result is her first novel, Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island.

Barbara Bonfigli was born in California and thriving there until, at fifteen, she discovered that her high school gave full college credit for Driver’s Education. She successfully lobbied her parents to switch her to a prep school back East that leaned more toward philosophy, literature, and European history.

Her early careers in Manhattan included editor, literary agent, and Wall St. coffee vendor. Working with composer Catherine MacDonald, she wrote lyrics for shows on and off-Broadway, including A Streetcar Named Desire at the Vivian Beaumont and St. James theaters, She Stoops to Conquer at the Guthrie, and Rebel Women at Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival.

While living in London in the 1980s and 90s, she co-founded ShowPeople Ltd, which produced Blues in the Night, Ian McKellen Acting Shakespeare, Barbara Cook: Wait ’Til You See Her, and several seasons of big and little shows. Blues… and Barbara Cook… both received Olivier nominations, the UK’s equivalent of the Tony awards.

BB has studied music in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, meditation in India with two contemporary Siddha masters, and deepens her yoga practice in New Mexico with Tias Little and the teachers at Yoga Source.

She now lives on a small Greek island and the islands of Manhattan and Santa Fe.

To learn about Barbara Bonfigli and Café Tempest, feel free to visit any of these sites.

Order Café Tempest directly from the publisher -
http://www.tellmepress.com/pub_ct.php or from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Café-Tempest-Adventures-Small-Island/dp/0981645313

To see the complete tour schedule visit http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/05/cafe-tempest-by-barbara-bonfigli-summer.html

Barbara Bonfigli’s website – www.cafetempest.com

Barbara will be joining us on July 27th for an interview. I hope to see everyone back here then--along with a friend or two :-)

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Anonymous said...

Wow! Now that is a memoir to be read. She has the background to make this quite believable. Shakespeare, especially The Tempest, in Greek is a most unusual idea. The old Bard would really sit up and take notice.

Barbara Bonfigli said...

Hi Joyce,
Thanks for inviting me to your beach book party. I hope it's sandy and warm wherever you're curled up or stretched out reading "Café Tempest: Adventures on a Small Greek Island". Have your best time. Maybe we'll move to a bigger beach on the 27th so plenty of your readers can join our discussion. I suggest bringing along a very cold pitcher of retsina. After a couple of glasses you won't need the glossary at the back of the book to speak almost perfect Greek. Opa! bb. please visit www.cafetempest.com for links to buy the novel.

Susan Wingate said...

"Cafe Tempest" sounds like a fun story. I love that Ms. Bonfigli has mixed genres, memoir & fiction but also she's mixed in two love stories. I can't wait to read more, Joyce. Thanks for the great posting! -Susan

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