- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Ondina Press; 1 edition (20 Sept. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0957378300
- ISBN-13: 978-0957378308
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,344,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Island of Dreams: A single act of violence always has more than a single victim.: Volume 1 Paperback – 20 Sep 2012
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Tayar brings to this beautifully woven family reunion a heart filled with empathy and compassion for her characters --Alfred Garrotto, author of The Wisdom of Les Miserables
Readers of Tayar's very readable memoir, How Shall We Sing?, will see the germs of the present novel in the earlier book. In both books the writing is vivid, but in Island of Dreams skilful story-telling is combined with psychological depth. --Paul Xuereb, Sunday Times of Malta
The author has a controlled use of language, detachment and a sense of humour. The psychology of the characters and the social context of their community are beautifully depicted. --Dominique Seytre, Journalist
About the Author
Born in Malta and raised in Israel and Australia, Aline P'nina Tayar is the author of "How Shall We Sing?: A Mediterranean Journey Through a Jewish Family" (Pan Macmillan/Picador). Her home is in Bath, but her work as a conference interpreter takes her often to Brussels." Island of Dreams" was short-listed for the Outbound Best Novel Prize 2011 and was runner-up for the Harry Bowling Prize 2012
Top customer reviews
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Meet Ellie, Vanna, and Claire, three cousins in their fifties who left Malta years ago for Australia, Israel and Brussels. Discover how ancient memories cast their shadow over their lives and how tragedies of the past catch up with them when they briefly return to the island to take care of two aged relatives.
An immensely pleasurable reading experience which I warmly recommend.
The main characters are three cousins - Claire, Vanna and Ellie - who had to leave Malta as children in very unsettling and distressing circumstances which followed a long doctors' strike in the 1970s and the tragic killing - linked to these events - of Claire's mother by a letter bomb. The now adult cousins, who currently live in Brussels, Israel and Australia respectively, have returned to Malta to try to determine what to do about two surviving aunts now in their 80s and 90s. Inevitably the unsolved case of why Claire's mother was killed resurfaces..
The chapters examine the same events from the perspective of each of the cousins: how their lives were shaped, and to a considerable extent blighted, by the events that forced their parents to leave with them into exile. The characterisation and the inner lives of the cousins are narrated very perceptively and I was drawn-in not only by the individual stories but also by the interaction between the cousins both in childhood and now, more than 30 years later, as adults reunited (but not altogether reconciled) in Malta.
The dominating background is the Maltese doctors' strike which in the end lasted for 10 years and explains why these exiled members of the family never returned. The strike brings out into the open the divided political stances of the extended family in the face of the quixotic policies of the Prime Minister, Dom Mintoff, which ranged from initially promoting integration of Malta into the UK to later forming links with China and an alliance with Libya with adverse effects on the culture and architectural heritage of Malta.
Another nice feature of the book which kept my attention is the interesting and surprising facts and hints which ranged from the massive wall of jellyfish which choked salmon farms in Scotland (where Claire and her father had initially settled) to how to butter toast without depositing crumbs on the butter dish!
Finally, I fear that I would have found the complex family relationships almost impossible to follow without the helpfully provided family tree (at least in the paperback edition).
In conclusion, a highly recommended read.
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