The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop
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.
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
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
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Disclosure: I received an advanced
reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for TLC review purposes.