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Brenda Chamberlain

A Rope of Vines

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  • £9.99


We invent our own lives, but there remains reality outside oneself, and these enduring boats, laden with melons and water-pots, green peppers, and cattle, point the way to life through abundant dying.


A beautiful and personal account of Brenda Chamberlain’s life on the Greek island of Hydra in the early 1960s.

Sights, sounds, colours, sea and harbour, mountain and monastery, her neighbours and friends are unforgettably brought to life; as are the emotions and warring desires within her.

Both in the intensity and force of the writing and the eloquent island drawings, A Rope of Vines has become a modern classic.

‘Vivid yet dream-like, wise and intimate, A Rope of Vines reveals in spare, poetic language a world of fishermen and nuns, and villagers driven wild in a white-hot wilderness. Chamberlain is unsentimental yet passionate about the harsh, raw beauty of the island and the solace of sea and wind. Mesmerising and wonderful – a classic to be read and re-read.’ Jennifer Barclay


About the author:
Brenda Chamberlain was born at Bangor in 1912. In 1931 she went to train as a painter at the Royal Academy Schools in London and five years later, after marrying the artist craftsman John Petts, settled near the village of Llanllechid, near Bethesda in Caernarfonshire. During the Second World War she worked with her husband on the production of the Caseg Broadsheets. In 1947 she went to live on Bardsey (Ynys Enlli) where she remained until 1961. After six years on the Greek island of Ydra, she returned to Bangor; it was there, depressed and with financial problems, she died from an overdose of sleeping tablets in 1971. A Rope of Vines was published in 1965.