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The Island

The Island [Kindle Edition]

Victoria Hislop
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (916 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Adding depth and colour to the story is the description of Cretan life... in particular, the vividly detailed account of life on Spinalonga... It is one of the achievements of this thoughtful novel that it presents the lives of the island's inhabitants with such empathy. The result is a fascinating work that combines a moving love story witha plea for more understanding about this most cruel of diseases' ( The Times )

'This is a vivid, moving and absorbing tale, with its senstive, realistic engagement with all the consequences of, and stigma attached to leprosy, elevating it beyond holiday literature.' (Observer)

'Gently gripping tale' (Scotsman on Sunday )

'Brings dignity and tenderness to her novel.' (Telegraph )


'Hislop carefully evokes the lives of Cretans between the wars and during German occupation, but most commendable is her compassionate portrayal of the outcasts' Guardian -- Guardian 20050723 'Hislop is an exceptional writer with a strong voice who completely deserves rich success with this debut... Beautifully balanced, vivid and atmospheric prose' Newbury Weekly News -- Newbury Weekly News 20050811 'War, tragedy and passion unfurl against a Mediterranean backdrop in this engrossing debut novel' You magazine -- You magazine 20050811 'Wonderful descriptions, strong characters and an intimate portrait of island existence' Woman & Home -- Woman & Home 20050811 'Passionately engaged with its subject...the author has meticulously researched her fascinating background and medical facts' The Sunday Times -- The Sunday Times 20050811 'A page-turning tale that reminds us that love and life continue in even the most extraordinary of circumstances' Sunday Express -- Sunday Express 20050811 'Hislop's deep research, imagination and patent love of Crete creates a convincing portrait of times on the island. She writes evocatively of the minutiae of traditional life... She...manages to milk the dramatic potential of each unexpected twist and broken engagement, of the ruined and resurrected lives of her characters... A moving and absorbing holiday read that pulls at the heart strings' Evening Standard -- Evening Standard 20050606 'At last -- a beach book with a heart... Meticulous research into Cretan culture...packed with family sagas, doomed love affairs, devastating secrets... She also forces us to reflect on illness, both the nasty, narrow-mindedness of the healthy and the spirit of survival in the so-called "unclean". Her message seems as relevant today as it would have been a century ago' Observer -- Observer 20050606 'A moving and atmospheric tale' The Scotsman -- The Scotsman 20050606 'A promising debut' Grazia magazine -- Grazia 20050606

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1771 KB
  • Print Length: 482 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (10 Feb 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TXZRV8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (916 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #708 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Victoria Hislop is a writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback chart for eight consecutive weeks and has sold one million copies. Her second novel, The Return, debuted at number one in the Sunday Times paperback chart.
She was named Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007.
Victoria lives in Kent with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
170 of 183 people found the following review helpful
This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is certainly a quality book but without being heavy like an old classic. It is well-researched and contains powerful imagery and detailed descriptions of Crete. It makes you want to go and look up the places on the internet so you can see exactly where the novel is set. It is tragic without being upsetting. This novel makes you think about how we treat people today with certain illnesses and explores class, prejudice and discrimination wonderfully. It also makes you consider those who put themselves at risk for the sake of others and humbles the reader.

The story is well structured and I was not able to guess what was going to happen in the end, but the book was so enjoyable throughout that I certainly wasn't hankering to see what would happen at the end. This is one of those books I was sad to finish and will be pushed to find one so good to read next. I will definately be buying the author's next book and would highly recommend this to anyone who likes books that let you escape abroad in your own home but with a bit of substance.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic beach read 24 July 2006
By Amy Fox
This is a very touching and well written story. Hislop evokes real empathy for her characters' battles with the 'curse' of leprosy. The story details how the shame of the disease touched the lives of all affected family members, as well as the wider community. It is impossible not to feel the wrench of those who were exiled onto the leper colony of Spinalonga.

This is so well researched, that the events of the novel seemed real, without falling into the trap of writing a historical account. The plight of the central characters is so compelling that I couldn't put this book down. Further enhanced by beatiful depictions of it's Cretan setting, this book will encourage tourists to trek to Crete and the infamous Spinalonga. Sit back and enjoy...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I don't normally choose 'family saga' novels, but there was something very appealing about the premise of this one. Set on Crete, specifically around the little fishing village of Plaka, it tells the story of several generations of Petrakis women, and their ties to the leper colony on Spinalonga, the little island just off the coast. Alexis, British-born and half-Greek, is determined to find out about her mother's family history, despite her unfathomable secrecy. Finally relenting, Sofia sends her daughter to an old friend in Plaka, who finally tells her the story of her family, beginning with her great-grandmother Eleni and her great-grandfather Georgiou and continuing through the years to her mother's lifetime.

I found this to be a very evocative book, filled with the sights, sounds and scents of life in rural Greece. It was also quite educational, giving as it does a comprehensive, if fictionalised, account of life in the leper colony on Spinalonga. It taught me a lot about leprosy, in terms of the disease itself and of the way it was viewed by society at that time. Aspects of the stigma of having a disease and the embarrassment of its physical manifestation continue to ring true for other illnesses and disabilities today, providing an interesting comparison and a pause for reflection. The descriptions of the community on the island were alive with colour and feeling, and I felt myself sinking into the unfamiliar setting and becoming deeply absorbed in the narrative as the family's story unfolded.

I can't believe it's taken me so many years to finally get to this book, but I'm glad I finally plucked it down from the shelf and gave it the attention it deserves. I can see why this book became a bestseller, and I'll be recommending it heartily to anyone looking for a summer read with an wide sweep, a Mediterranean flavour, a thoughtful theme and a whole lot of heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars plods along nicely 4 Jun 2009
A lot of people seem to have marked this book down based on it's portrayal of leprosy. My review of this book is based on the fact that it is a work of fiction which happens to feature characters with leprosy, it is not a text book so I have not looked into it's accuracy as I feel that to do that would take away from my enjoyment of a work of fiction. This isn't a criticism of those people who have commented on it in that way, if leprosy is something they know about then the book will be a let down to them if it is not accurate. I enjoyed this book and didn't want to detract from that by studying around it too closely, many great classics have been ruined for me by studying them at A level and beyond. When I've read the same books purely for pleasure I've found them infinitely more enjoyable.

Aside from the portrayal of lepers, I found this book an enjoyable read which was well crafted, you cared for the characters and it moved along at a reasonable speed. It's not an un-put-downable edge of your seat that has you gripped from beginning to end, more something to take to the beach with you to while away a few hours when you don't want to think too hard.
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139 of 161 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different books for different types of readers 20 Feb 2007
By student
I enjoyed The Island but I think it has to be admitted that it cast leprosy in an "old" light: a book mentioned below, John Tayman's The Colony was aimed at the serious reader who wants to know about leprosy from a non-fiction viewpoint, and Dinah Kung's Under Their Skin offers readers a more complex, engrossing novel where leprosy medicine is in the fabric of the story, but isn't the focus. The Island was obviously meant for beach reading, even said so on the cover. I'm studying public health so I'm thrilled to see authors looking at medicine this way for all kinds or levels of reading!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Island
What an amazing story of love and courage. Such a good read. I couldn't put it down. A good read.
Published 2 days ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, hard to put down
lovely story, enjoyed the way the book jumped back to the past - it's like 3 stories in one. was disappointed when I'd finished as I didn't want it to end.
Published 2 days ago by Natalie
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a fantastic read mixing fact with fiction
I read the book whilst on holiday in Greece. It was a fantastic read mixing fact with fiction. brilliant. Then a trip to spinalonga bought the book alive. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Julie D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A thoroughly enjoyable read
Published 3 days ago by R. J. Tilbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Words fail me....
What an exceptional, emotional, amazing read this book is. I started reading this after a visit to Spinalonga, all described exactly in this book, instead of imagining the... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Sarah Plant
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good reading. Cant put it down.
Published 5 days ago by MRS J WEST
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, visited Spinalonga during the summer and re-read ...
Great book, visited Spinalonga during the summer and re-read when I got home as I was able to picture the story much better .......
Published 6 days ago by mrs s greenhalgh
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read if visiting Crete.
Engrossing book bought to life when I recently visited Spinalonga and walked through the tunnel.
Published 7 days ago by Mrs L Pointer
5.0 out of 5 stars True story full of history and love
After visiting spinalonga I had to read the book, this is a true story full of history and love you can imagine how life must have been. Read more
Published 8 days ago by beverleyo'neill
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it.
Read this whilst on holiday in Crete and then visited Spinalonga. It was compulsive reading. I loved it.
Published 9 days ago by Suzi D
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