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Customer Review

on 14 March 2013
Anthony Burgess picked up on Polly Hope's first novel, describing it as `deeply disturbing' but `a keen literary pleasure'.
`Here (Away From It All)' is an adult `Lord Of The Flies' involving wealthy holidaymakers instead of schoolchildren. A Greek island has been ruined by opportunistic tourism; overrun with timeshares and package tours, its natives have been marginalised and employed as service personnel. One day an unspecified world event occurs which ends all contact with the island, so that foreign currency is suddenly rendered worthless. Hotel guests find themselves paying their bills with watches, rings and necklaces. But when the material goods run out, they need something else to barter with. And as the rules of civility become ever more strained, the islanders start to exact revenge.
The protagonist, a young mother, watches in amusement, then horror, as the unnamed island - the world in microcosm - breaks down into rebellion and anarchy. The revengers have Greek names but there is no racism here, because a silver thread of humanity runs through the characters, refusing easy demonization, and the heroine remains upbeat even as all hope fades. The tale is post-apocalyptic and descends inexorably to a horrifying climax, but is written from a deeply personal viewpoint.
Hope is an utterly unique voice, and her return to print is a cause for celebration.
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3.9 out of 5 stars