Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Priest Fainted

The Priest Fainted

A Novel

Catherine Temma Davidson

Henry Holt and Co.



A stunning debut about a young Greek-American woman and the history she shares with her mother and grandmother.

Imam is a recipe known throughout villages in Greece, handed down from mother to daughter. If you come from these villages, your history is passed on through your body.

Its full name is imam baildi, and it means the priest fainted. Perhaps the priest was given a bit of bitter and sweet pleasure, and the power of everything behind the dish pushed him off his rock, just for a moment. Perhaps, when he was tumbling through the air, sighing with fear and ecstasy, he saw a glimpse of a new life to come.

Layered with love affairs, family squabbles, poignant misunderstandings, moments of wonder, and more, The Priest Fainted is nothing less than the recipe for a young Greek-American woman's life. Using her imagination and the stories passed through her bones as ingredients, Catherine Temma Davidson uses memories, Greek myths, recipes, and family gossip to uncover a hidden history, which is the story of one woman's year in Greece as it crosses and doubles back over the lives of her mother and grandmother.


Praise for The Priest Fainted

“Davidson has created an admirable heroine, a kind of female Odysseus who must survive the dangers and beauties of a foreign place.” —Lisa Shea, The New York Times Book Review

“Pondering the lives of women who came before her, revising Greek myths to uncover feminist parables and chronicling a modern woman's adventures in an ancient land, Davidson's skillfully crafted novel proves it may be possible to forge a connection to the past by living intensely in the present and keeping one's eyes, ears, and imagination open.” —Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Catherine Temma Davidson

Catherine Temma Davidson has received numerous accolades for her poetry, including awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Dorothy Daniels Award from PEN, and First Prize at the L.A. Poetry Festival. She lives in London. The Priest Fainted is her first novel.

Catherine Temma Davidson