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Broken Greek

Broken Greek

*Listen along with Pete’s BROKEN GREEK playlist on Spotify!*

‘Lip-lickingly, dance-around-the-living-room good… A smash hit’ Observer

‘Unflinching and heartwarming’Adam Kay

‘Tender, clever and as funny as it gets … a heart-piercing joy’ – Lauren Laverne

‘An exceptional coming-of-age story […] Pete Paphides may very well have the biggest heart in Britain’ – Marina Hyde

‘I ADORE this utterly wonderful coming-of-age memoir. Joyful, clever, and a bit heartbreaking’ – Nina Stibbe

‘Heartfelt, hilarious and beautifully written, Broken Greek is a childhood memoir like no other’ – Cathy Newman

‘So wonderfully written, such a light touch. Drenched in sentiment yet not in the least sentimental’ – John Niven

‘It’s brilliant. Sad, really funny and beautifully written … just fantastic’ – Alexis Petridis

‘A truly beautiful book’ – James O’Brien

‘Intoxicating’ – Kirsty Wark

‘Oh, how I love Pete Paphides and this book’ – Daniel Finkelstein

‘A balm in these times‘ David Nicholls

‘Fantastic … Can’t recommend it highly enough’ Tim Burgess

‘Do you sometimes feel like the music you’re hearing is explaining your life to you?’

When Pete’s parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s in the hope of a better life, they had no money and only a little bit of English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop in Acocks Green. The Great Western Fish Bar is where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness.

Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age 4 to 7, and found refuge instead in the bittersweet embrace of pop songs, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc. From Brotherhood of Man to UB40, from ABBA to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life. It also helped him navigate his way around the challenges surrounding school, friendships and phobias such as visits to the barber, standing near tall buildings and Rod Hull and Emu.

With every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British. And the engine of that realisation? ‘Sugar Baby Love’, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Tragedy’, ‘Silly Games’, ‘Going Underground’, ‘Come On Eileen’, and every other irresistibly thrilling chart hit blaring out of the chip shop radio.

Never have the trials and tribulations of growing up and the human need for a sense of belonging been so heart-breakingly and humorously depicted.
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Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

On Sale: 5th March 2020

Price: £20

ISBN-13: 9781529404425


A heartbreaking but humorous memoir from a legendary rock journalist
The Times Scotland
A hilarious, heartbreaking and completely enchanting debut
The Arts Desk
A smart and nostalgic read
Magic FM
A tale of pop music and growing up in a Brum chippie that has been the sweetest, funniest thing he's read all year.
Stuart Maconi, Cumbria Life
A witty and joyful tale of self-discovery
the Observer
Charming, funny ... you root for kind, uncertain, scared but spirited little Pete
The Big Issue
Confessional, sorrowful and sublime
BA High Life Magazine
Saga Magazine
Every single page is a joy to read, entertainingly but unsentimentally written ... This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read for a long time, a coming of age memoir that manages to be simultaneously tender, heartbreaking and laugh out loud funny
The Afterword
the Guardian
Highly personal book about family life ... warm hearted
the Independent
I can't tell you how good this book is. Incredibly, it's Paphides's first - I'd be amazed (and disappointed) if it's his last
New Statesman
If you are in the market for a wonderfully written, deeply touching, pitch-perfect childhood memoir laced liberally with 70s nostalgia, then you need look no further.
Long Live Vinyl
Oh, how I love Pete Paphides and this book. He can't write a paragraph that isn't funny or moving or insightful and often all three at once. For someone from a refugee family, like me, it just reads so true, but it's also a painting of another life so rich, so deep, that they should hang it in the National Gallery.
Daniel Finkelstein, Associate Editor at The Times
Tender, clever and as funny as it gets... a heart-piercing joy.
Lauren Laverne
With its forensic attention to detail and exquisite unpacking of the pre-teen mind, Broken Greek is an intensely personal hymn that sings a universal tune. Like the very best pop songs, it gets under your skin, and stays there
Q magazine
Wonderful coming-of-age memoir
Record Collector