Jessica Stilling, "The Weary God of Ancient Travelers" (D.X. Varos, 2021)


Lydia Warren has a particular kind of amnesia. She vaguely recalls arriving in Santorini with a one-armed man whom she calls David Copperfield, who takes care of her. Lydia spends her days watching the sea and the changing light, trying to remember who she is. She takes walks, befriends a kindly old antiques dealer who might have been a Nazi and a French woman who helps people remember their past lives. Bits and pieces of what might or might not have been past lives appear in brief visions. A lamp she buys from the antiques dealer reminds her of an New York apartment she once lived in, but it’s the 1960’s, well before she was born. Then she’s visited by someone from The Hague investigating war crimes, and she learns that she has an uncle who lives like a hermit behind a monastery, also somewhere in Greece. This is a story about memory, the mysterious workings of the brain, and the human capacity for forgiveness.

Jessica Stilling earned a BA from the New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from the City University of New York. Before The Weary God of Ancient Travelers, she wrote The Beekeeper’s Daughter (Bedazzled Ink Press), Betwixt and Between (IG Publishing), Nod, and the young adult Pan Chronicles Series (D.X. Varos). Her short stories have appeared in The Warwick Review, The Hawaii Pacific Review and Wasifiri, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Writer Magazine, Ms. Magazine, and She has worked as an editor at THe Global City Press and the The Global City Review and has taught creative writing at both high school and university level. She has published young adult fantasy under the name J.M. Stephen, lives in southern Vermont, and writes for the very local newspaper, the Deerfield Valley News. Jessica grew up in the Chicagoland area. She has lived in New York City and Southwestern Vermont. She loves skiing, hiking, Virginia Woolf and anything Icelandic.

I interview authors of beautifully written literary fiction and mysteries, and try to focus on independently published novels, especially by women and others whose voices deserve more attention. If your upcoming or recently published novel might be a candidate for a podcast, please contact me via my website, gpgottlieb dot com.

Your Host

G. P. Gottlieb

G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (

View Profile