Andrew Pippos knows his Australian Greek diners, most of which have vanished, but he remembered the one operated by his grandparents in the New South Wales town of Brewwarina and turned the history into a crackling novel.
His first book, Lucky’s “is a celebration of Greek-Australian cafe culture, and spans an entire lifetime: not just of the characters themselves but of the cafes, from their dominance to their obsolescence,” wrote Brigid Delaney in The Guardian.
Those diners, most gone by the end of the 20th Century, “provided glamour and delicious food to dusty and desolate outback towns and plain, featureless suburbs,” and gave Pippos the backscape for his story.
It features Lucky, a Greek-American GI who settles in Sydney and marries into a Greek cafe-owning family overseen by a violent patriarch named Achilles, the book gaining glowing reviews for its insight, taking him eight years to write, sounding like something from Harry Mark Petrakis.
“My grandmother and my uncle were best at cooking Greek food, but that was something private. It was the best food, and it was hidden.” Pippos still cooks many of their recipes today.