Lead Review

  • Book: Peel Me a Lotus
  • Location: Hydra
  • Author: Charmian Clift

Review Author: Tina Hartas



The family has arrived on Hydra from Kalymnos and they have decided to spend the last of their savings on buying a small house, costing them 120 gold pounds. It was not one of the grand dwellings, rich in history, which at the time could have been bought for a paltry amount.  As it was they were living on a financial knife edge, every penny had to be counted and Clift was also about to give birth. Open cooking fires, basic toilet facilities and a hand to mouth existence had to be taken in their stride, balanced by a pretty healthy outdoor life.

The narrative is divided into months, the changing seasons reflected in the stories she tells. As time passes, more people arrive with the warmer weather and it is no longer ‘their’ island. They regularly go to meet the boat, the Sirina, that brings provisions and people, they encounter the locals with whom they are building relationships, they revel in the rhythm of island life. The noises of the animals both day and night add resonance, as the temperatures begin to rise. German girls arrive to keep the Scandinavian male trio company, whom they have dubbed Pepsin, Strepsin and Amylopsin. And of course Leonard Cohen soon arrives and theirs becomes a happening, artistic community.

In the background the Greek Cypriot War is underway but their focus is on the life they are building on this small island.  This is a chronicle of village life writ large. As the seasons change, the crowds descend but there is always Katsikas’ Bar…

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021