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Novel set mainly on CRETE past and present

14th June 2021

Greek Island Escape by Patricia Wilson, novel set mainly on Crete past and present.

Novel set mainly on CRETE past and present

The novel opens in the present in Chania, Crete, as an older woman (who seems unable to speak) is accosting strangers and holding out a card to anyone who will look. On the card she draws attention to the fact that she is searching for her daughter whom she last saw many years ago. Contemporaneously in England Zoë is utterly preoccupied with her daughter Megan, who has been missing now for seven months.

The reader is taken on a trawl through the very difficult periods of Greek history, through WW2 forward to the right wing military junta (Regime of the Colonels) 1967-1974. There was displacement, famine, torture and it was clearly a very difficult period to navigate in the history of the nation. There was inevitably a large, communist resistance movement and part of the story explores the lives of Sophia and Markos, and Markos in particular suffered severely at the hands of the junta for his political beliefs.

In the present, Zoë follows the trail of her daughter to Manchester and she also begins to uncover why Megan chose to disappear. She is aghast when she becomes aware of the life she is leading – to wit, her daughter is a vagrant earning a pittance by juggling – and she is beside herself. She then discovers that Megan has gone to Greece in search of her missing grandmother, someone with whom she always had a strong bond.

Naturally towards the end, all the strands dovetail. I warmed to the narrative because it is very creative and nicely put together but ultimately for me there was almost a surfeit of life events, there were so many breathless strands determined to keep the reader entertained as the story line zipped between past and present. There is also quite a lot of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ – for me, the emotional responses to terrible trauma and cruelty were a bit thin and simple. The story whizzes along, there are twists, turns and serendipitous happenings and fortuitous encounters that ease the story into the next part of the storyline. All the threads come together nicely at the end. Predictable as it was at times, it nevertheless made for an engaging read.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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