Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop
Publisher: Headline Review
Publishing Date: 22nd September 2016
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 448
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Culture
Cartes Postales from Greece is an extraordinary new book from Victoria Hislop, the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author of The Island, The Return, The Thread, and The Sunrise. It is fiction in full colour – magical and unique.
‘Victoria Hislop writes so vividly about the Med, you can almost feel the scorching heat’ Good Housekeeping
Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A.
With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.
On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man’s odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A’s tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.
Beloved, bestselling author Victoria Hislop’s Cartes Postales from Greece is fiction illustrated with photographs that make this journey around Greece, already alive in the imagination, linger forever in the mind.
I can’t actually believe it myself but “Cartes Postales from Greece” is my first book by Victoria Hislop – but what an introduction to this author it was! I’ve read this book in one day, which for me is like a world record, not because I am reading so slowly or something but because life always gets in the way. However, this time, I put everything aside as this book has just drawn me in and I didn’t want to put it down for a single second.
This novel doesn’t contain a storyline per se, as it consist of short stories. It starts introducing us to Ellie who is receiving postcards from Greece – postcards addressed to someone other but still coming through her letterbox, postcards signed with “A”. Ellie pins all of them on her wall – they are a real sunbeam in her otherwise grim and cloudy life. But one day, on the spur of the moment, she decides that she will travel to Greece – there is nothing that keeps her in London. On the day of her departure, a notebook arrives – a notebook that she takes with her on her travels and discovers that it is also written by “A”. And here is where the short stories, told by A, start – stories of his travels through Greece, recounts of his meetings with the Greek people and his re – telling the stories that the locals shared with him after offering him a place to sleep and something to eat.
This book only confirmed my beliefs that I want to see Greece. It was like reading partly myths, partly fiction and partly non – fiction and I loved this perfect mix. The stories were so different, funny, sad, heart – breaking, seeming possible or not possible to happen. It deals not only with feelings, relationships, family bonds, tradition but also with the very present state of economy or politics, and the powerlessness and anger of the characters are so realistically portrayed.
What is also so exceptional for this book is the fact that it is full of photos, illustrating the scenes or places that A visits. The photos are beautiful and they helped me to imagine and see the places even better – it was great to not only imagine things but also see them how they really are.
The author has a brilliant way describing the nature, places and bringing all the scents, sunsets to life. You could easily see that Victoria Hislop loves Greece and Greek people and that she very well understands them, their history and their tradition and that she has a lot of respect to all of the above mentioned.
This book is written in the most unusual way and it worked incredibly well for me. It is like reading stories within a story. They are so different and they are about different issues but I think that there are some things that they have in common – there is always a message in them, there is always love and hope and that in the battle of good against evil it is usually good that wins. They are inspiring and they are beautiful, those stories, and they are written in incredibly vivid and descriptive way. I think I can’t say that I have my favourite story as I loved all of them. They are all unforgettable, poignant and so true to life. It was quite emotional, unique book and I am incredibly happy that I was able to read it – it is for sure going to stay with me for a long time and I will be getting back to it. Highly recommended, not only if you love Greece!