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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting story of love and survival
Christy Lefteri's debut novel is a darker read than the sunny and romantic cover suggests, though it is indeed a love story above all else. Dealing with events surrounding the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the book is a little reminiscent of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' in portraying the devastations inflicted on the local populace by an invading army. Unlike Louis...
Published on 11 May 2010 by Marcus H.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and war in Cyprus
A tale of intersecting lives brought together during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and told over a period of eight days, Lefteri's first novel moves along at a fast pace and has some haunting, poignant moments. Personally I found her style a little grating at times and her depiction of Greek Cypriots as victims and Turks as bloodthirsty rapists is probably a...
Published on 22 Oct 2011 by jacr100


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting story of love and survival, 11 May 2010
Christy Lefteri's debut novel is a darker read than the sunny and romantic cover suggests, though it is indeed a love story above all else. Dealing with events surrounding the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the book is a little reminiscent of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' in portraying the devastations inflicted on the local populace by an invading army. Unlike Louis de Berniere's multiple-viewpoint narrative however, Lefteri concerns herself mostly with the struggles of her two main protagonists, interspersing their story with the reminiscences of an older character based in London. The book features some very gruelling scenes but the dark tone is leavened by sharp and often beautiful prose, and the author's selection of detail is always a delight. What works particularly well is the sense that we are entering a world of storytelling; that legends, myths and reputations in the close-knit Cypriot communities are all perpetuated through communal interaction. The invasion of a military force thus becomes even more shattering as old heirarchies are overturned and untold stories begin to emerge. I finished the book feeling not only haunted by the struggles endured by the characters but by a way of life that seems almost to belong to a different age. Ms Lefteri is obviously a writer of great talent, and I shall certainly take an interest in whatever she does next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love and war in Cyprus, 22 Oct 2011
By 
jacr100 "jacr100" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible (Paperback)
A tale of intersecting lives brought together during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and told over a period of eight days, Lefteri's first novel moves along at a fast pace and has some haunting, poignant moments. Personally I found her style a little grating at times and her depiction of Greek Cypriots as victims and Turks as bloodthirsty rapists is probably a little overdrawn; nevertheless, it paints a picturesque if sentimental portrait of Cyprus and is structured cleverly, weaving a series of personal stories spanning decades into the space of a dramatic week. Not a literary classic but a very passable page-turner and an interesting literary take on one of the darker moments in Cypriot history.

Style: 5/10

Structure: 8/10

Depth: 5/10

Originality: 5/10

Unputdownability: 7/10
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 2 Feb 2011
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I have read several books about the conflict in Cyprus but I found this one the most disturbing. It was also written very strongly from the Greek Cypriot point of view. The Turks are not all cruel and also suffered greatly. I also think there was too much poetry in it. The book was obviously written from her parents memories and in that way it is very touching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Island Divided..., 18 July 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible (Paperback)
Lefteri's first novel is an account of the 1974 civil war in Cyprus from the point of view of five people: Koki, a Greek Cypriot who has always been made a scapegoat for being the illegitimate daughter of a British soldier and a Greek Cypriot woman; Adem, a Turkish Cypriot soldier who once loved Koki; Serban, a Turkish Cypriot commander; Maroulla, a little girl adopted by Koki after the death of her mother in the invasion; and Richard, once part of the British army in Cyprus, now living in London and dreaming of the woman he loved and the daughter he never knew. With flashbacks to the past, Lefteri takes us through the terrible days of the invasion and civil war in Cyprus, as Koki struggles to become accepted by the Greek Cypriot women with whom she has been imprisoned and remembers her unhappy past and her one great love; as Maroulla gradually bonds with Koki; as Adem desperately searches for Koki, as Serban sets out to make the Greek Cypriots suffer for their earlier humiliation of the Turks and as Richard tries to come to terms with his past.

This novel has the potential to be a great read. Lefteri's descriptions of the island, particularly the village of Kyrenia where the action largely takes place, are beautiful, and she paints an interesting picture of the Greek Cypriot community in London. In fairness to Lefteri, although the Greek Cypriots are made more sympathetic than the Turks on the whole, she doesn't come across as too biased - the Turkish soldier Adem is rather a noble figure. She also has some interesting ideas about her characters. Unfortunately, I don't think she really brought the novel off as a drama. Characters had a tendency to launch into long monologues - while she might have been attempting a Dostoyevskian intensity, in reality they ended up seeming over loquacious and sometimes slightly pompous. The love affair between Richard and Marianna was far too stereotypically that of the beautiful, silent exotic woman and the insecure young soldier, and Richard as an older man was a depressing and lethargic character to read about (and how did he survive if he wasn't working - literally to having enough money to eat?). We never learnt enough about the genuinely moving love affair between Koki and Adem, or enough about Koki's life after she became pregnant, and the ending was frustratingly oblique - what was going to happen to the surviving characters? In the end, I found large chunks of the book dragged rather, while other bits of plot seemed to be skipped over.

So - some interesting things, but I didn't feel in the end that the novel quite worked overall. It'll be interesting to see if Lefteri carries on writing in the same style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would thoroughly recommend this book!!!!, 11 Oct 2011
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This review is from: A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible (Paperback)
I found this book fascinating, yet deeply disturbing. It is also beautifully written...poetic almost. Having said that, this book is full of gritty realism. I found some parts more disturbing than others. The picture the author portrays is so real that you think you are living through the turmoil with the characters in the book. I genuinly felt for the characters and was on the edge of my seat whilst continuing to turn the pages. I think the fact that it is written in the present tense also helps to give it this impact as you feel it is happening in the 'here and now' and you are in the midst of it all. I just loved the author's style of writing. Her vivid descriptions just bring everything to life. I also thought all the characters were well-rounded and totally believable. It is only the author's beautiful handling of this sensitive topic that saves it from being too harrowing to read.

I have recently visited Kyrenia and traveled around Northern Cyprus (I don't know if it is PC to call it this)and am doing so again shortly. I will now see it a different light, however. This book has left such an imprint on my mind. I feel the need to read more about the complicated 'Cyprus Problem' in order to have a better understanding of it. I have recently read another brilliant book based on the troubles in Cyprus called 'The Cypriot' by Andreas Koumis. For me though, this book definitely had the edge. I just couldn't put it down. What an amazing debut. I will definitely be looking out for more from this author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, 9 May 2010
It's a long time since a book kept me awake until 5am because I just couldn't put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next - was he going to save them? Were they all going to get killed? Such a well written story that made me feel I was there and could smell the lemon blossom, I could feel the sand and sea on my feet, I could feel the fear of those captured. A very well researched book which perfectly combines facts with fiction and the language flows so well. So emotional. It touched my heart and I look forward to the next work from this author - soon please!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't sprout where you haven't been planted, 1 May 2010
I read this book after it was reviewed on BBC Radio 4 recently. The author was interviewed as well and this helped me understand where the powerful emotion in the book has come from. A theme in the book is that "There is always something to live for, the past is always alive in the present, it is never behind us". The turbulent, vicious partitioning of Cyprus is the setting but there are numerous interlocking love stories and tragedies. The strong genuineness in the characters (which I am sure real family stories and memories have formed) makes the book so impressive .
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3.0 out of 5 stars long winded, 2 April 2014
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Although i enjoyed this book, i found that it was a bit long winded describing how the roses and blood and and winding roads blah blah blah, this had no relevence to the story. I cried for my country as i felt that i was there in some parts of the book, this book will give people like me who were in england when the war started, a feel of what it was really like. very sad.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well writtenand atmospheric, 9 Feb 2014
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This review is from: A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible (Paperback)
This book is one of those I shall keep forever. Not only is the subject matter so close to my heart - but the author has made a very good job of telling this story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read., 3 Feb 2014
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Loved it. this is one of these books that you can't put down.
A real feel good book. Highly recommended.
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A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible
A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible by Christy Lefteri (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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