In his latest memoir, Elias Kulukundis reveals what it’s really like be the scion of a Greek shipping family. It’s not what you think. Read our review.
Author Elias Kulukundis
Over the years, Elias Kulukundis has published several books, mostly in the memoir genre. As a businessman, a political activist, filmmaker, playwright, and author, he has many stories to tell.
Elias was born in London and raised in Rye, NY. His family moved to the States when he was three, shortly after the WWII broke out. His parents were raised on the Greek island of Kasos, though they were both born on Syros. He was educated at top schools, including Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University.
Elias has written several books about his life, beginning with The Feasts of Memory, first published in 1967 and updated in 2003. It’s part travelogue and part memoir. In 2013, he published The Amorgos Conspiracy, a fascinating true story about his rescue of his former father-in-law, a former politician, exiled on a Greek island during the days of the Junta (included in the Old Favorites section of Summer Reading Guide 2018). Back in 2016, we reviewed his autobiography, First Passage: Navigating the Straights Between Life in America and Greece, in which he discussed his experience on a subject which many of us are all too familiar – straddling two cultures.
Related: REVIEW: The Amorgos Conspiracy – in Summer Reading Guide 2018
As a filmmaker, his works include Cyprus: Anatomy of a Crisis (1974), which is one of the few historical movies about the Cyprus invasion. In 1999, he wrote a play called, Three Brides for Kasos, based on one of the stories in The Feasts of Memory. It was staged at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival of 2005, and critics declared that “Although the story line has elements of farce it is ultimately a classic Greek tragedy.” Currently, Elias is working on the Greek translation, as it’s set to be produced in Athens in 2019. He’s still actively involved in the shipping company he founded in 1999, Kulukundis Shipping Investments, Inc. (KSI).
Inspiration for Bold Coasts
One might wonder if there was room for another Elias Kulukundis memoir, but this one is different. He said he felt compelled to write it because most people have the perception that he grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and everything came easy.
“To have grown up neglected in a fairy tale setting of wealth seemed a particular form of torture, in which the entire meaning of my experience was denied.”
He also said there aren’t many books of this kind.
“Even now there is not much cogent writing about wealth. F. Scott Fitzgerald got it as he showed in his insightful remark to Hemingway — ‘the rich are not like us.’ Fitzgerald was aware that there was something in the experience of being rich that most people were not aware of. But even then, Hemingway glided past his insight with a put-down/come-back, ‘Yes, they have more money.’”
REVIEW – Bold Coasts: Life in A Greek Shipping Family
In Bold Coasts-Life in a Greek Shipping Family, Elias Kulukundis reveals a most unexpected tale. The aptly titled ‘Bold Coasts’ utilizes a nautical term, referring to a coast that is so sheer it does not afford landing access. Highlighting his transition to political activist, to author, shipping financier, and family man, Bold Coasts reveals more of Elias’ life than ever before. We get a rare, first-hand glimpse into the realities of an old Greek shipping family.
We often think of people born into wealth as having an easy life, one we typically envy. In this poignant story, Elias shatters the stereotypes to show the world that we all have struggles; we try to escape our parents’ expectations to pursue the life we desire. We want to forge our own path, yet, in the end, we want to receive their approval — as well as happiness, and of course, prosperity. Ultimately, this is a story of starting from nothing and making your own way in the world – against all odds, and despite the roadblocks placed in your way by unlikely sources. Perhaps that fire ignited within him is why Elias, now in his 80s, is still working, creating, and blazing his own trail.
Bold Coasts: Life in A Greek Shipping Family
By: Elias Kulukundis
Publisher: G.C. Eleftheroudakis S.A.; 1st edition (2018)