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Bitter Lemons of Cyprus
 
 

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus [Kindle Edition]

Lawrence Durrell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

While Cyprus is often touted as a tourist destination, the origins of the prolonged war between the island's Greek and the Turkish communities are less well known. In Bitter Lemons of Cyprus--first published in 1957--Lawrence Durrell blends the story of beginning a new life in this beautiful place with an account of the conflict's beginnings. It is a narrative that retains political relevance today.

The book starts out like something by Peter Mayle or Chris Stewart, a forerunner of the "good life abroad" genre. Durrell is a hard-up writer looking for Mediterranean peace and a stunning old house--Cyprus obliges. But circumstances and Durrell's poetic genius ensure that the book is far more than a glib chronicle of hilarious events and eccentric neighbours. These exist in plenty, and Durrell writes about them with zest and great wit, but slowly he gets drawn into the unfolding tragedy of Cyprus's battle for self-determination.

The revolt ignites, and Durrell's tranquil life is shattered. His stay on Cyprus becomes one of great sadness, which he communicates with restrained fury as he describes the political transformations and paradoxes that overtake the island. In his poetic and loving descriptions of places and people--most of them remarkably steadfast in the face of political convulsions--there is an empathy and an attention to detail which provides a poignant memorial to a life which, it becomes clear, was shattered as much by the indolence of men in grey suits as by the violent spirits of the hills. --Toby Green

Review

* Sach's confiding tone draws us intimately into this vanished world. The Sunday Times * Andrew Sachs' narration glows. He creates the world of Greek and Turkish Cypriots with warmth and humour, without a trace of caricature. The Oldie * Anything read by Andrew Sachs is a joy. The Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 618 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571201555
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction; New Ed edition (15 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072314G2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,436 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History repeating itself........ 19 May 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The first issue here is over the name of the book, It is NOT `Bitter Lemons of Cyprus'; it was published as `Bitter Lemons', and that title has far more contextual meaning. Lemons are bitter sweet, and that defines Durrell's relationship with Cyprus, his village, the villagers and indeed the UK, which he generally referred to as Pudding Island. I will declare an interest: I adore Cyprus; this book was a main reason for me to visit, and subsequently, some 20 years ago we bought an arty house in a beautiful village. We have spent eight years living amongst some of the most generous, open and warm-hearted people on earth. This rings out from Durrell's book too. His descriptions are precise, accurate, affectionate and objective. In parallel with his attempts to make a home in the fabulously arty and beautiful village of Bellapaix, we watch in horror as the strategic political hypocrisies and cynicism play out at courtyard level. This era of Mediterranean history is not without shame for all the actors involved in it, and the victims are invariably the individuals caught up in the dangerous world of international politics mixed with nationalism, fear and misunderstandings; made the more dangerous by external meddling. Sounds horribly familiar to events elsewhere in the world, thereby proving that those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are condemned to repeat them. This book is a salutary lesson of the problems faced not only in buying a house in a foreign country, but also the problems of buying acceptance into a foreign culture, and inevitably the tragic price of failure. Bitter sweet. Bitter Lemons, indeed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars v good 5 Jun 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting read describing life in N Cyprus at a pragticularly difficult time in its history. Vivid word pictures of local populace, of terrain and of life in the area at the time. Recommended for anyone with an interest in social history, travel, life in the 50s
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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before Mayle and Mayes came Durrell. 22 Jun 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Forget all those insipid Peter Mayle books and the myriad imitations that they spawned. This is the real thing; a book about settling in a new country, buying a house (the funniest chapter in the book) and the slow realisation that, politically, the situation is becoming untenable. Bitter Lemons, which starts off so optimistically, is a sad commentary on the inability of people to get along with each other. Take this book away with you this summer and Mr Durrell's unique ability to evoke the Spirit of Place (see his collected letters) will stay with you and haunt you long after you return home from your tame Greek beach holiday.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Other reviewers are being a bit pedantic over the title of this superb book. Yes it was first published as bitter lemons, but I think the new title gives it more gravitas.
Firstly, if you know nothing about the troubles that has plagued the beautiful island of Cyprus,then this may give you an inkling and a desire to explore more about the history.
Lawrence Durrell, brother of Gerald, writes with humour and warmth about his short stay on the Island, and gives his viewpoint on how the troubles there got steadily worse!
To begin with his adventure there is interwoven with colourful characters, that many of us would recognise from our short trips to the mediterranean area, and that we can readily relate to and sympathise with.
There are moments of sublime hilarity, the saga of buying his house made me laugh out loud, and also of great sadness as the troubles slowly tear the heart out of the community.
Read and be enchanted and saddened, his prose is so poetic, and he paints pictures with his words so well.
And then, if you haven't already, go to Cyprus follow in his footsteps and experience The tree of idleness for yourself!!! !! !(but not the taverna of the same name!!! !! !)Bitter Lemons of Cyprus
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 6 Jun 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book to read on holiday and i am glad i did. I was actually in cyprus when i read it. The characters are brilliant and to think they were real. The episode where he is buying the house is hilarious,i found myself reading faster and faster as the sale got more fast and furious. A good read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I ever read. 13 Sep 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the most inspiring books I ever read. I loved it cover to cover. This one and "Esprit the corps" are really funny at places, but also moving tales of living in other cultures. The tragic history of modern Cyprus is an alarming background of this very personal tale.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two cultures 3 Feb 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hope, discovery, humour, tragedy and greed are portrayed with great literary skill in a captivating and very readable style in this excellent non-fictional story. Although easy to miss among the miriad of wonderful characters brought to life by Durell, there are some very real political undertones in comparisons with Crete and the description of the Greek revolt against British rule in the 1950s. The book implies that, in an attempt to keep hold of control over the island, Britain exploited the soured relationship between Greece and Turkey to set up a federation in 1960 that it knew would remain divided and in need of constant British involvement. Those familiar with the later tragic consequences in 1963 and 1974 will lament the the divide and rule policy of a dying British empire.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
perfect
Published 15 days ago by carospen
5.0 out of 5 stars Was A VERY GOOD BOOK 40 GOOD YEARS AGO
Apart from changing the title I trust the book has remained unchanged. Havent read it yet. From memory a superior version of a year in provence. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Denishk
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to set the mood for a trip to Cyprus
Sensitive description of Cyprus during the period when the independence movement was building. Delightful descriptions of the people and landscape
Published 4 months ago by Mrs C Houghton
5.0 out of 5 stars War between friends.
Having lived in Cyprus for 4 years, I found this book absolutely riveting. The history of the island since WWII is as complex as any adventure story, with the added interest of... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Janie S
5.0 out of 5 stars Enduring masterpiece
Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell is one of those end of Empire books that many British writers attempted in the decades that followed the Second World War. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Philip Spires
5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter lemons of Cyprus
An excellent historical account of the author's stay in Cyprus, which coincided with the unrest,1953-1956, under Makarios. Read more
Published 8 months ago by sylvia tompkins
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read by a wonderful author
The descriptions in this book bring it to life. I am there in Cyprus experiencing what Lawrence has described. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jan jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative holiday read
Read it on holiday in Northern Cyprus - certainly enhanced the atmosphere of this part of the world. Read more
Published 10 months ago by mrs.susan mountcastle
5.0 out of 5 stars Evokes the sights and smells of Mediteranean life
A wonderful evocation of mediteranean life, culture, history and scenery, to say nothing of nationalist politics.
Durrel and Elizabeth David both excell at this.
Published 10 months ago by John Harrop
5.0 out of 5 stars A holiday in Cyprus
It was my partner`s 1st visit to Cyprus and one of the places we visited was Belapais. Such an appropriate book for a nostalgic view of Cyprus during a time when when life was so... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
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