Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Sunrise

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop
HarperCollins: 7/7/15
Advanced Reading Copy,352 pages
Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 780062396099

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop is a highly recommended novel about three families during the 1974 Cypriot coup d’état.

Opening in the Summer of 1972, The Sunrise is set in Famagusta, Cyprus’s most glamorous Mediterranean island vacation destination. Aphroditi and Savvas Papacostas currently own the Paradise Beach, a small hotel, but are building a new luxury highrise with a nightclub, The Sunrise. Markos Georgiou is hired as the manager of the night club and soon The Sunrise is the place to go to see and be seen by European's elite.

Underlying the tranquility of the city, though, ethnic tension is mounting between the Greeks and the Turks. Violence erupts in 1974 when Greece’s coup d’état provokes a Turkish attack on  Famagusta. Forty-thousand families ended up fleeing Famagusta, leaving it deserted. The Papacostas flee to a refugee camps, while two other families, the Özkans and the Georgious, remain in the decimated city. The tension between the two families is great as one is Turkish Cypriot, while the other is Greek Cypriot. The two families take refuge in the hotel, The Sunrise. The families battle illness, hunger, fear, and their own prejudices while struggling to stay alive and protect those they love.

Even today Varosha, the southern tourist section of the Cypriot city of Famagusta, is still empty, a ghost town, barricaded by barbwire, since the coup d’état. "Glitz! Glamour! Civil war! Abandonment! That sums up Varosha, a once-ritzy beachfront resort district popular with Elizabeth Taylor and international jet-setters in the Cypriot city of Famagusta. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, it was deserted by 15,000 residents, enclosed with barbed wire and left to rot."(Modern Day Ghost Towns)

With all of Greeks economic struggles in the news recently, this is a timely historical novel. While the story is fiction, it is based upon real events. Hislop is a good writer. You can tell that she has done her research to keep the story firmly placed in the specific time in history. Clearly, what is the most interesting to Hislop is the history. Her characters are presented so she can cover the history. While this isn't necessarily bad, if you are interested in history, the characters are really secondary to the bigger story, the complicated political atmosphere, the invasion, devastating aftermath and struggle for survival. To be honest, the story does start out a bit slow so you have to give it a chance. Once it's 1974 and the the Özkans and the Georgious are left trying to survive in the city, the story begins to become more engaging. 

TLC Tour Schedule

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for TLC review purposes. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My son and I are planning a trip to Greece in a few years so I'll be devouring book in that setting in preparation for the trip. This one is going on my list!

Thanks for being a part of the tour!