Monday, 6 February 2017

Book review: The Sunrise - Victoria Hislop

In the summer of 1972, Famagusta in Cyprus is the most desirable resort in the Mediterranean, a city bathed in the glow of good fortune. An ambitious couple open the island's most spectacular hotel, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots work in harmony. Two neighbouring families, the Georgious and the �zkans, are among many who moved to Famagusta to escape the years of unrest and ethnic violence elsewhere on the island. But beneath the city's facade of glamour and success, tension is building. 
When a Greek coup plunges the island into chaos, Cyprus faces a disastrous conflict. Turkey invades to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority, and Famagusta is shelled. Forty thousand people seize their most precious possessions and flee from the advancing soldiers. In the deserted city, just two families remain. This is their story.

My opinion.
In 'The Sunrise' Victoria Hislop introduces us to a wide range of characters. At first glance they seem worlds apart but as the book continues their stories come together and intertwine. When troops invade sunny Cyprus, class and ethnicity, greed and status don't seem to matter as much anymore to the main characters. When the country and world politics are more divided than ever, the lines and walls that kept them separate before start to crumble down. 
The characters, their stories and the gorgeous resort of Famagusta are all incredible rich. There's so much detail and depth, but for some reason I felt as if you were kept on the outside, looking in from afar, instead of getting sucked into the book.
Against the backdrop of, at first, paradise on earth and a civil war afterwards, the characters go through a roller-coaster of emotions. But to me the description of those felt clinical and stand-offish.
I enjoyed it, but I'm afraid I will have forgotten Famagusta and it's inhabitants in a few weeks. I, however, highly recommend Victoria Hislop's earlier book 'The Return'. It's been years(!) since I've read it and I still remember the intensity and passion.


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