Friday, 21 November 2008

The Island by Victoria Hislop

I've read a review which described this as a beach read with a heart and I think that just about sums it up. It is not a great book or wonderful writing, but what raises it above the usual beach read is the theme of leprosy and the lepers' colony. In fact I believe without that it would have been a very ordinary family saga indeed.

It tells the story of a family torn apart by leprosy, spanning four generations. The characters are very simplistic, Anna irredeemably bad, Maria nauseatingly good: bad woman, high spirited, questioning, “mischief in her eyes and lips that didn’t smile”, “had her arms folded and glared …”; good woman, quiet, retiring and wanting to please, “hands held softly in her lap in a demure pose”.

But, if you're travelling to Crete and can visit Spinalonga, an interesting read for the background information.

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