Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop

Set in 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the place to be seen. It is a beautiful Mediterranean retreat for the jet set to bathe in the glow of their good fortune.

It is also home to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots who live and work side by side. Aphroditi and Savvas Papacosta have opened the most luxurious hotel on the island. All their wealth has been poured into this hotel and their employees include both Greek and Turkish Cypriots who have previously escaped the unrest that previously swept through Cyprus.

However, in this golden paradise tensions are building as another violent conflict takes place. Families flee the island and only two families are left behind. Only the Georgious and the Oskans remain, refusing to flee their homes. Can they survive secretly on this broken island or will they be discovered by rapidly advancing soldiers?

This novel is based on true events and considers the lives of fictional individuals who lived and worked in Famagusta during the uprising. I found this book very elucidating through her portrayal of this aspect of Cypriot history. Even though these events occurred during my life time I knew very little about this devastating time in history.

Ms. Hislop portrays these terrible events in a a manner which enabled me to understand the impact the event had on individual people. She has written a novel which is highly atmospheric both in it’s descriptions of the place and  it’s people. Her portrayal of the wealth of the The Sunrise Hotel along with her descriptions of the beauty of the island turned words on a page into a tangible experience.

The plot moves along at a suitable pace for the story and I was gripped by both the narrative and characters. The author has taken a horrible series of events and made them palatable. However, she has not steered away from the violence and reality of the situation but has contrasted the beauty of the island and it’s people with the terror  of the events happening around them.

All in all I think the author has done a good job in portraying this particular period in history. Perhaps, like me, it is a past time that you understand little about. I think that she has created a perfect springboard to finding out about the events in Famagusta, which stands like a ghost town to this day. I think if reading this book encourages people to seek out a less fictionalised account then Ms Hislop has done her job and done it well. Personally, I love books where the subject matter refuses to be left when I close the book and this book has certainly ignited my interest in this period of Cypriot history.

ISBN:  978-0755377787

Publisher: Headline Review

Price: £9.00 on Amazon.co.uk

About the author:  

Following a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became a best seller and was published in 30 languages. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2007.

She went on to write The Return followed by The Thread and a set of short stories called The Last Dance and Other Stories. The Sunrise is her fourth novel.

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