The Island (Victoria Hislop)

Posted on Thu 02 October 2008 in Rooties Recent Reading

If I'd seen this book in the second hand bookshop, I would have been unlikely to choose it. However, it came highly recommended by a friend who lent it to me and I'm so glad they did!

The island is a story of a family history and it's discovery by a girl from London. Her mother has rarely mentioned her past so the London girl sets off to discover it, taking us back to before her mother was born.

It's hard for me to say just why I enjoyed this story so much. Perhaps it was that the story covered such a wide range of time and that I'd love to know as much history of my family. To know my grandparents grandparents would be wonderful. Perhaps it was that the story felt so real; trials and tribulations of life randomly spaced with the happy times of families rich and poor. Perhaps it was the setting, the island and nearby town of Spinalonga. Spinalonga was a leper colony until a cure for Leprosy was fond after the second world war. Perhaps it was that when a group of city folk were deported to Spinalonga due to their leporsy, they didn't give up made a place where people went to die into a place with a living standard that nearby mainlanders began to envy.

I found it hard relating to some of the greek terms, in the same way as someone from Greece would probably stuggle to comprehend the translated meaning of Mr Brown, Right Honourable Mr Brown, Prime Minister Brown and First Lord of the Treasury - being all titles related to the same person. I think a similar thing was happening with the titles of the women in the story, growing from girls into women.

Spinalonga is a real place and I'm not entirely sure at what point fact ends and fiction begins. Another friend said she visited the island having read the book and been on holiday in the area and the island is accurately depicted.

Rootie Rating; 5 out of 5 - I'm so glad is was recommended to me