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on 17 June 2013
Lawrence Durrell is an exceptionally gifted writer who uses all the art and craft of Writing to place you at a point in History and a geographical location where the deep processes of cultural progress are taking place , being tested and shaped for their future tasks.

In this work, "Bitter Lemons" we encounter the Greek love and hate for their British overseers and we taste the bitter lemon of the helplessness of the British foreign office to understand and deal with an early form of terrorism.
There is a tendency to believe that terrorism grows from an alien psychology which we do not understand. This work will challenge that assumption.
The subsequent history of Cyprus with the occupation by Turkey of much of the Northern part of the island after the removal of the British suggests that the bitter lemon analogy may not merely apply to the British inability to negotiate meaningfully with the Cypriots.
One critic once said that Lawrence Durrells prose has the gravitas of T S Eliot's Poetry. There are undoubtedly moments where this is true and never more so when Durrell captures the spirit of place of the island seen through the eyes of its inhabitants and its visitors from the British Isles.

Michael James
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on 13 September 2015
I have read and re-read this book several times. I love reading Durrell because he is a poet and a painter in words. My special interest in this particular book stems from my own personal links with the island of Cyprus and my interest in the Cyprus problem which continues after decades until this day - although, the current negotiations look more hopeful. And it was to try and understand some of the background to this problem, (as far as attitudes on all sides went), I read the book once again.
Durrell's view of the fomenting of the last clash between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, points to the lack of sensitivity on the part of the British government back in the 50's to what Cypriots wanted and how it might have been avoided, is revealing.
Having lived there, what this book most recalls for me is the laissez faire, laid back feeling one gets as a tourist or a resident. And of course, the wonderful scenery, sights and smells that Durrell evokes. Happy days!
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on 28 July 2016
type set is so small you'll need a magnifying glass to read it!!
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on 27 August 2016
I downloaded this book to help me with my research for a historical fiction novel I am currently working on. I am born of Greek Cypriot parents and have visited Cyprus many times over during my childhood and as an adult with children of my own. I know the country and the warm kind hospitality of its people. The history surrounding EOKA has been a minefield and this book and the account it portrays is real, from the mouths and hearts of real people. I absolutely loved reading it and enjoyed the language and descriptions. In some places I was a bit lost - going back to the 1700s and 1800s but otherwise well worth reading and most informative.
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on 13 January 2015
served in Cyprus in the time frame of this account so revived many memories.
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on 25 January 2013
The intimacy of Durrell's description of the Cypriot villager placed me right there in the beautiful village of Bellapaix with its charming white temple and the background of the sparkling blue Mediterranean lapping against the shores of the Island's north coast.

But this belies the much more sinister - because real - mounting undercurrent of resentment Durrell found amongst otherwise affectionate villagers for the interference, as they saw it, of the British presence on the island so many decades ago.

The balance between the villagers' warm hospitality and the looming - if not overtly stated - danger to Durrell as tensions rise is wonderfully evoked.

The author's decision to buy a house on the island at a time of political unrest when measured against the British presence in Cyprus, tests the sincerity of the villagers' friendship but many of the true accounts he gives of individual friendships are so simple and yet so moving.

This, together with the almost poetic descriptions of an earlier and perhaps more romantic era in Cyprus than that of the commercialised coasts of today, left me with a charmed memory of his 'bitter-sweet' experience trying to live and find acceptance amongst the villagers on the beautiful North coast from Lapithos to Kyrenia and beyond to the then Government House in Nicosia.
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on 6 October 2014
I started reading this in the airport in the UK. I finished reading sitting on the balcony of my hotel on Kyrenia's harbour front - surrounded but the sounds and smells of Cyprus. What a terrific book - so educational. We spent more of our trip trying to piece together the history of island, since the events of the 1970's then build on Durrell's book. The Greek Orthodox churches in the village are neglected, the graveyards desecrated, and houses lie empty. All this sparked off by events that Gerald Durrell actually witnessed. The saddest part was his last trip with his friend.

Both the holiday in Cyprus and the book collectively have given me a whole appreciation of the Cypriot issues. I shall watch it progress with interest.
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on 8 February 2015
its good but the name puts me off it seams like an interesting story but bitter lemons sounds a bit over used a better tital could be rocky mountains of Cyprus or icy paths of Cyprus a better name is needed.
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on 19 August 2014
Lawrence Durrell wrote this book based on his life in Cyprus in the late 50s. My father was stationed in Cyprus in the late 50s early 60s and this book has always been a favourite of mine as it captures completely what Cyprus was like then. It is completely different now since independence and partition but you can still glimpse the old Cyprus now and then. Cyprus is one of my favourite places in the world and this book is a very personal thing for me and I love it. It is beautifully written and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Cyprus.
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on 25 October 2014
Really enjoyed this book. Was inspired to download it because we were on holiday in Northern Cyprus. Had read it years ago but it was well worth reading again. Durrell's artist's eye really brings the descriptions to life and you can visualise the characters and their lifestyle as the book unfolds. A lovely touch of humour but at the same time an empathy with the Cypriot problems before the separation of the island. Anyone who would like to know more about the history of Cyprus would do well to read this book.
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