THERE IS A classic logical paradox which is cited in St Paul's Epistle to Titus and in older Greek texts and which may be summarised as, 'All Cretans are liars. I am a Cretan.' A proud and ancient people should not be libelled as liars; it might be more diplomatic to say that, in Rory MacLean's new book at least. the bars of Crete abound in unreliable narrators. This is not surprising on an island where gossip is mixed with legend and stirred with myth; where, as one man tells the author, Alexander the Great 'came to fight the Communists'. No doubt MacLean's own stow has already entered the rich memory pool and is now being creatively embroidered.
It is a very strange story, made somehow odder by the clear, matter-of-fact way in which it is told. It opens with MacLean climbing at night among rather perilous sounding ruins. He is 'rescued' by a local bar owner, Yióryio, and proceeds to get good and drunk in the village