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Bitter lemons of Cyprus Unknown Binding – 1957


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; Uncorrected page proof edition (1957)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007JL68E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,147,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Franks on 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 By Mr. Edward Gregory on 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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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful By W. Weinstein on 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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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Julian Karswell on 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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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dr. E. Korusoy on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay R on 22 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently spent a week in Kyrenia and this book was recommended to me several times on the first day as background reading. Downloading it that evening, I read it with great pleasure and some surprise over the next few days. My image of the man was previously that of the effete older brother that Gerald Durrell portrayed as 'Larry' in 'My Family and Other Animals'. The person that comes over in this book is very different. He is observant and entertaining, with a lovely (if a little dated) turn of phrase. While the book is essentially autobiographical about his three years living in Bellapais in the early 1950's, through his friendships with a wide range of amusing local characters we get the background to the EOKA uprising which broke out against the British in 1955. The book clearly draws heavily on his notes made at the time and was published only two or three years later. It gives a very real impression of an unwilling uprising born of frustration that could have been resolved at a local level but became unmanageable once it became an international issue. In that sense it is a sad but very human book. Forty-three years ago I served as part of the United Nations Force in Cyprus - some time after the Eoka uprising. I wish I had known to read the book then.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J.M. Tissot van Patot on 13 Sept. 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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