For years Lucky’s has been in my head and fighting to get out, and at last here it is.
The title is taken from a restaurant franchise at the heart of the novel; the business itself is named after the main character, Vasilis ‘Lucky’ Mallios. The central plot line follows Lucky from his late teens to his seventies. Late in life, lonely and broke, he has one last thing he needs to do. The novel is also about the people whose lives Lucky shapes, and who shape him. There are multiple story arcs here but they all converge; the plot lines are different contours of the one solid object.
I began work on the novel with several characters, scenes, and aims in mind. Above all I wanted to write about an Australian milieu, now obsolete, which had fascinated me all my life. My first experience of community, of belonging, came from the time I spent as a child in the cafes run by my grandmother and uncles and aunts. Some of you may remember the cafes and milk bars run by first- or second-generation Greek migrants in cities and towns all over Australia. Some historians of immigration call them the ‘Cafe Greeks’.
Where would I be without them? My father and uncles and aunts and grandparents were the first people to tell me about Greek myths and literature. These childhood conversations are where my love of literature began. When the café was busy, I would sit for hours in an enormous olive tree in the yard behind the kitchen. We all have places like this: the setting where our imagination was formed. I suspect many novelists write their way back to that site, to the overgrown tree in the yard where they invented stories.
I’d be honoured if you read Lucky’s.
A few links if you want to go deeper...