Aphrodite’s Breath: Susan Johnson’s new novel is an ode to Kythera

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In 2019, Australian author and journalist Susan Johnson quit her job, left her Brisbane apartment and brought her 85-year-old mother, Barbara, along with her to live on the Greek island of Kythera for one year.

Four years later, she has published her new book Aphrodite’s Breath inspired by the journey.

Johnson explained to The Australian her desire to return to the island of Kythera, her first ever travel destination outside of Australia, where she joined her friend Maria Comninos and her family in their home in Perlegianika in the mid-1970s.

It was an experience which “changed the course of the rest of [her] life.”

Johnson at lunch in Kythera aged 21. Image from The Australian.

With the desire to return to this nostalgic spot in her sixties, Johnson felt she could not leave her elderly mother behind, and so, she asked if she would consider joining.

“Why not?” Barbara replied. “I’ll be close enough to heaven if my time is up.”

Aphrodite’s Breath tells an honest story of a late-life relationship between parent and child with a particular sentiment for Kythera and its people.

Aphrodite’s Breath: A mother and daughter’s Greek Island adventure is out now.

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