Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2019-04-02)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language


Adventures of the Comma Queen

by Norris, Mary

The beloved Comma Queen returns with a buoyant and charming book about language, love, and the wine-dark sea.

In her New York Times best-selling Between You & Me, Mary Norris delighted readers with her irreverent tales of pencils, punctuation, and punctiliousness over three decades in The New Yorker's celebrated copy department. In Greek to Me, she delivers another wise and witty paean to the art of expressing oneself clearly and convincingly, this time filtered through her greatest passion: all things Greek.

From convincing her New Yorker bosses to pay for Ancient Greek studies to traveling the sacred way in search of Persephone, Greek to Me is an unforgettable account of both her lifelong love affair with words and her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, and reveals the surprising ways Greek helped form English. Filled with Norris's memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine - and more than a few Greek waiters - Greek to Me is the Comma Queen's fresh take on Greece and the exotic yet strangely familiar language that so deeply influences our own.

Mary Norris is the author of the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, a memoir of her over thirty years working in The New Yorker's celebrated copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk


An excerpt from Mary Norris' GREEK TO ME will run in next week's print issue of the New Yorker

Quote: New Yorker

Lit Hub, April 2, piece by author

Quote: LitHub

What a fantastic book! Not only is Greek to Me educational, entertaining, and gorgeously written, it shows us how intellectual curiosity coupled with a dash of bravery can pave the way for a more meaningful life. Mary Norris does for Greek and Greece what Cheryl Strayed did for hiking. Readers will long to follow in her footsteps

Quote: Ann Patchett

An entertaining, erudite, and altogether delightful journey fueled by the love of language.

Review: Publishers Weekly, starred review

I fell in love with Mary Norris's first book, and am now even more in love with this charming, ribald, highly informed, and always funny excursion through the language, culture, and oddities of Greece and the Greek language. An adventure tale for intellectuals - and also for the rest of us.

Quote: Steve Martin

As a reader, I would follow the writer Mary Norris wherever she goes, and I found myself enthralled by this wondrous journey through Greek myths and language and art. Norris brings everything into the glimmering light - most of all the beauty of words.

Quote: David Grann

In her delightful first book, Between You and Me, a personable fusion of grammar guide and memoir, Mary Norris, longtime "Comma Queen" of The New Yorker's copy editing department, parsed some of the fine points of her vocation. In Greek to Me, she excavates her avocation - a multidecades passion for all things Greek. ...

Review: NPR

Mary Norris' love for the Greek language and the countryside is infectious. ... Norris' vibrant prose flies off the page, and the breadth of her material set my head spinning at times. Still, she brings it all together with insight and wisdom, giving us an understanding of the "larger world out there" and, as she writes, "different ways of saying things, hearing things, seeing things."

Review: Minneapolis Star Tribune

...rapturous memoir of falling in love with a language...these pages leave you feeling salt-kissed and freshly tanned, languorous with ouzo.

Review: Washington Post of the most satisfying accounts of a great passion that I have ever read.

Review: New York Times

[Norris] offers an exuberant memoir of her transformation from a sheltered schoolgirl in Ohio to a passionate Hellenophile. A delightful celebration of a consuming passion.

Review: Kirkus

Mary Norris's love for all things Greek is palpable and infectious. She is a charming, insightful guide through both ancient and modern glories, and I expect her lush descriptions of the Greek countryside to provoke a tourism stampede.

Quote: Madeline Miller

Mary Norris, our master grammarian, proves that knowing the rules sets you free. Here she writes about Greek language, culture, and mythology with an untrammeled grace that's a delight to read and, almost incidentally, a demonstration of high-level literary skill. Greek to Me is a book to dive into - a page-turning and wonderful achievement.

Quote: Ian Frazier

New, April 2 column by author

Quote: New Yorker

Poignant, antic, hilarious, Mary Norris is the definition of wearing your learning lightly, and after a lifetime of Greek immersion, pouring beer libations, and skinny-dipping in the waters of Aphrodite, her lessons slip down sweetly. This book is true ambrosia.

Quote: Caroline Fraser

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