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November book club - Cartes Postales from Greece

(93 Posts)
LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 01-Nov-16 11:20:11

Our November book club choice is Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop (read more about it HERE).

Winners should be receiving their copies in the next few days. Don't forget that if you do receive one, please leave your thoughts, reviews and questions for Victoria on this thread by the end of November.

Happy reading!

Jalima Thu 10-Nov-16 14:11:52

How do I enter to win a copy please?

jollyg Thu 10-Nov-16 14:37:05

Jalima I too looked for that info but failed.

Pittcity Thu 10-Nov-16 15:19:48

You are too late for this one, but there is a link under the books tab above for you to apply in the month before. December's will be announced soon and will be in the newsletter.
PS. Has anyone received this one?

LadyGracie Thu 10-Nov-16 19:40:10

Do you have to enter every month?

Jalima Thu 10-Nov-16 19:46:57

thank you Pittcity smile

now I just have to remember to look out for it

Pittcity Fri 11-Nov-16 08:22:09

LadyG you enter when you like the look of the book and are able to read and comment in the specified time frame.

Bellanonna Fri 11-Nov-16 09:16:27

Pittcity - I can't see the link. And what newsletter? Sorry if I'm being thick.

Pittcity Fri 11-Nov-16 09:51:00

Bella at the top of this page right under the Gransnet logo is a green strip that starts "Forums". Fourth along is "Books", click on that and Book club details are on that page.
Gransnet send an email newsletter daily if you have opted to receive it. That would be in your Preferences, the link for which is on the far right column at the bottom of this page.

Bellanonna Fri 11-Nov-16 09:57:11

Ah yes. Thanks Pittcity, I've found them both now.🙂

cazthebookworm Fri 11-Nov-16 17:15:24

I've applied, really hope I get this one smile

gillyknits Thu 17-Nov-16 15:57:18

Anyone received a copy yet?

Pittcity Thu 17-Nov-16 18:38:10

Not me. Looks like it'll be the December book.....

Maggiemaybe Sat 19-Nov-16 08:57:59

All the monthly books seem to be delivered very late now. Perhaps GNHQ should miss a month and get it back on track. It's not always easy to read a book and comment by the end of the month when you've only had it a few days.

Purpledaffodil Sat 19-Nov-16 14:20:59

Think it's the publishers rather than GNHQ though because they seem to come directly from the publishers ..... eventually. grin

Maggiemaybe Sat 19-Nov-16 15:49:51

You're probably right there. And I don't want to appear ungrateful at all (so don't strike me off the list, GNHQ!) - I'm always thrilled when that book drops through the letterbox, however late in the month it is.

Greenfinch Mon 21-Nov-16 18:16:09

What is the December book ?

Purpledaffodil Tue 22-Nov-16 09:43:50

Hurrah! It came this morning. Thanks very much GNHQ. flowers

Greenfinch Tue 22-Nov-16 09:58:47

Mine too. I look forward to reading it

Waveney Tue 22-Nov-16 09:59:17

Thank you for my copy which arrived this morning. The cover was enough to cheer me up in this awful weather!

gillyknits Tue 22-Nov-16 10:17:43

Thank you so much for my copy that arrived today. I will try and get it finished in Nov. but there's only eight days to go!

ValC Tue 22-Nov-16 11:19:28

I received a copy of this book today, what a lovely surprise. I am nearly at the end of my current book so will start it in the the next day or so. Looking forward to reading it

matson Tue 22-Nov-16 12:36:00

Thank you for my copy , looking forward to starting it.

HHBBNN54 Tue 22-Nov-16 13:21:34

Thanks for my copy, received it today, an unexpected surprise.

grandMattie Tue 22-Nov-16 13:28:20

Me took I've just received my copy. I'm a fast reader, but... perhaps the suggestion to miss a month, or report back a month later might be considered by GNHQ?

grandMattie Tue 22-Nov-16 13:28:38

confused - me too

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 22-Nov-16 14:24:35

OK update - there was a processing error but the books have now been sent out and should land in the next day or so. We don't do book club in December so there is extra time to read, enjoy and add questions for Victoria Hislop

harrigran Tue 22-Nov-16 14:51:30

Received my copy this morning, bit late to finish by the end of the month though. Thanks.

Grannyjacq1 Tue 22-Nov-16 16:14:03

Just received my copy today - 22 November! Thrilled to receive it - but really not sure if I'll be able to finish it by the end of the month, which is only just over a week away. Please, Gransnet, can we have a bit longer this time!

hjw2505 Tue 22-Nov-16 20:20:45

Thank you, my copy if the book arrived today and am hoping to read it on my bus journeys to work this week

GeminiJen Wed 23-Nov-16 09:55:32

Thanks, GransNet. My copy arrived yesterday too. Good to know that we have extra time to read smile

Craftycat Wed 23-Nov-16 11:33:06

Just heard I've got a download for this book - I REALLY wanted to read this one. Thank you so much.

Auntieflo Wed 23-Nov-16 12:16:36

Also just found out that I have won a voucher to download the e-book. Cartes postales from Greece. Now all I have to do, is find out how to do it. confused. Thank you Gransnet.

DaphneBroon Wed 23-Nov-16 12:41:32

When you find out, can you tell me please auntirflo?? I found out too late that E-book did NOT include Kindle. confused

Liz46 Wed 23-Nov-16 13:42:15

Thanks for the link to the ebook. Unfortunately we do not have itunes so I am unable to use it. Maybe someone else can have it instead?

jollyg Wed 23-Nov-16 13:42:53

Dont some of you realise that Gransnet is smoke and mirrors.

The site is less than satisfactory, no edit button, no reference to posters history, I could go on, BUT We only are here because of the posters, and their humanity.

It is a commercial entity and the only beneficiaries are the 'rich' owners.

Gagagran Wed 23-Nov-16 14:43:49

I have won the link to ebook too but unfortunately can't use it. Would be happy to pass it on to someone who can.

DaphneBroon Wed 23-Nov-16 16:56:16

Where did that come from jollyg???
A propos of what exactly?? confused

Pittcity Wed 23-Nov-16 17:11:37

You can easily download itunes just to download your free book and then delete it.
But you will only be able to read it on an IOS device,that is an ipad.
I don't have an ipad, so have emailed the publisher to see if there is a Kindle friendly format.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 23-Nov-16 17:28:15

Hi all - as I mentioned yesterday - we are happy for you to have a bit longer to read as we hadn't anticipated the books going out quite so late - so let's say mid December?

And unfortunately there is no way for publishers to be able to gift via kindle (they would love to - it's just not possible) which is why we put an explanation on the page to only tick the ebook box if you had a device other than kindle. Huge apologies for any confusion and to anyone who has been disappointed. We will be launching our preview of our fabulous January book of the month in the next couple of weeks so another chance to win.

Jalima Wed 23-Nov-16 17:31:16

So when was the December one?

confused

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 23-Nov-16 17:36:22

We never do one in December because it gets too complicated with the festive season - so we do our big book comps instead www.gransnet.com/life-and-style/books/best-christmas-reads-2016

Jalima Wed 23-Nov-16 17:38:19

Oh, thank you Cari, thought I had missed it and had only just realised there is a Book Club anyway!

Yes, tried to enter the comp but you have to agree to receive either endless promotional emails or junk mail so I abandoned it halfway through.

Jalima Wed 23-Nov-16 17:38:54

oops, that's me on the competition black list blush

Maggiemaybe Wed 23-Nov-16 17:45:34

Thank you for my copy, received today. I'm relieved we've got a bit of extra time for this one - I'm reading four books at the minute and one of them is October's GN pick (very nearly finished, though blush)

Pittcity Wed 23-Nov-16 18:32:41

The publisher has replied saying that it was in the competition entry details that the prize would only be available on Itunes. I only remember it asking if you would like a copy for E reader.
You live and learn, I will only be applying for the physical book in future.

Pittcity Wed 23-Nov-16 18:39:05

Cari we received The Essex Serpent as a file sent direct from the publisher that worked on any e reader.Sosome publishers can do it.

blueberry1 Sun 27-Nov-16 17:15:59

I also received the voucher for the e-reader copy though I don't recall being asked if I wanted one. I am not prepared to download itunes so will not be able to read the book this month.

GandT Sun 27-Nov-16 17:29:41

Help! Technophobe panic. I've won the ebook version of Hislop's book and don't know how to enter redemption code in iTunes where, apparently, it needs to be retrieved. No instructions with email. Anyone had any success with this to give me advice. Cheers.

Pittcity Sun 27-Nov-16 20:02:31

GandT you will find Redeem as the bottom choice in the drop down menu under Account.
The content is locked so you can only read it on Ibooks on an Apple device.

Auntieflo Mon 28-Nov-16 09:52:35

Help please. I managed to download the book, by googling how to do it, and managedtoremember my itunes password, phew. Now, where has it put it? I looked in my KOBO app, and also books in itunes, but how do I get to read it?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 28-Nov-16 10:17:30

blueberry1

I also received the voucher for the e-reader copy though I don't recall being asked if I wanted one. I am not prepared to download itunes so will not be able to read the book this month.

We did state on the page and the entry form that half the copies would be e copies and that you should tick the ereader box only if you had a device that was NOT a kindle. Only people who ticked the box were offered e copies.

GandT Mon 28-Nov-16 13:53:07

Much thanks Pittcity. Will have a go using your instructions. 🙃 Fingers crossed!

GandT Mon 28-Nov-16 15:29:45

Pittcity - success! I am now the proud owner of a free copy of Hislop's book to read at leisure on my iPad. I nearly pulled all my hair out getting it though 🙀

Cosafina Wed 30-Nov-16 19:48:32

I feel really bad! I got the link to download this book a week ago, went and got it - then dropped my iPad, shattering the screen and rendering it unusable shocksadangry.
I got a new one at the weekend but was visiting a friend so had to wait till I got home before I could transfer everything over (via the PC), and have been out every night this week so far (till today) but it's already 30th November.
So I'm really sorry but I haven't read it yet - will post as soon as I have!

inishowen Thu 01-Dec-16 11:02:15

I received my copy a few days ago and started last night. I'm enjoying it so far. I really like the illustrations. It's unusual in an adult book to have them. I've read all Victoria Hislops previous books.

grandMattie Thu 01-Dec-16 16:14:57

It is a curious book - the thread of the story is a little predictable, but the photos and vignettes that accompany the "diary" are absolutely charming and describe Greece very well. I have never been to Greece and it was very edifying.

One thing confused me somewhat was A's tour of the mainland and the Peloponnese; the places visited seemed rather random, not in a particular order - since Greece is fairly big, it seemed odd that one day he was staying in a place in the north and then he visits somewhere in the south. A little perplexing.

Despite all this, I enjoyed the book very much. Thank you.

matson Thu 01-Dec-16 17:58:18

I have finished this book with a sense of did I miss something ?! It is a beautifully illustrated and descriptive novel, but the story didn't flow and was quite boring. Maybe I need to reread it , I will be interested to see what other reviews say.

annemac101 Thu 01-Dec-16 18:08:06

Victoria Hislop is one of my favourite authors, I just love her books however I didn't enjoy this one so much. The story started well and I became interested then the short stories started and I kind of lost interest. The short stories did not endear me towards the Greeks, I hated the thought that vendettas can last for years and can go on through generations. The photos went very well with each story and it was cleverly done. I liked the book better when the main story picked up again and the ending was rounded off nicely. At the end I decided I did enjoy it just not as much as her others. I would like to ask Victoria if she has already started or has an idea what her next book will be? I really want to read her other books all over again.

granjan15 Fri 02-Dec-16 22:59:21

I thought this book was good in parts and I enjoyed the illustrations. The short stories were interesting but not very compelling and the main story line was rather weak and predictable. I did enjoy it but not as much as her other novels.

gillyknits Sat 03-Dec-16 09:48:24

This is a difficult book for me to review as, although this is classed as a novel, it is actually a series of short stories and I really dislike reading short stories.
The main character in the novel is a man who has been dumped by his girlfriend and who travels round Greece trying to take his mind off his broken heart. Along the way he meets various people who tell him their stories. I found some of them rather boring and struggled to finish them.
The other character in the book is the recipient of the postcards which have been mistakenly sent to her. This character is rather sketchily drawn and the continuity of her story gets lost at times.
The story Is set in modern day Greece and deals with the austerity and unemployment faced by many young Greeks today. The message seems to be that they have faced great adversity in the past and have always got through it. I thought that the illustrations of the postcards throughout the book was a innovative idea but I really found them to be the only colour in a rather dull book.

mbody Sat 03-Dec-16 09:50:15

The book was unusual in that it was a series of stories connected by a notebook which had fallen into the hands of someone who was inspired to travel through Greece following the travels of the notebook writer. Some of the stories were excellent others not so good. Not up to the usual Victoria Hislop storytelling but readable none the less. It did make me want some Greek sun on my back though.

Grannyjacq1 Sat 03-Dec-16 10:27:58

I was delighted when I received such a visually attractive book and loved everything about its presentation: the cover, the pictures, maps, the quality of the paper, the bookmark - a real box of delights. Picture books aren't just for children! I thought it would take me quite a long time to read it, but I was surprised how quickly I devoured the stories. I loved this modern take on the epistolary novel (has anyone written a novel in the form of text messages yet, I wonder?) The interwoven stories of Ellie in her dingy flat and the mysterious 'A' intrigued me, and I enjoyed the variety of tales which transported me from Greece's past to its insecure present and everywhere inbetween. A rich tapestry indeed. I had forgotten about Byron's associations with Greece. Victoria Hislop successfully transported me to Greece as I read, and I would love to visit some of the places she described. My only real criticism is for the ending, which I thought was perhaps a little cliched: having a glass of wine on the balcony is maybe a feel-good factor, but unconvincing. I have read one of Victoria Hislop's novels already, and enjoyed this one in a very different way. I will certainly try to read more. Thank you, Gransnet, for sending me this one.

Annie29 Sun 04-Dec-16 23:32:53

Thank you for my copy.
I was enthusiastic with the start of this book but as I read some more did not find it so good.
I don't usually like short stories although the format of these was a little different, some more intresting than others.
I have passed it on to my Mum who has been to Greece on holiday lots of time,will be intrested to hear what she thinks with a better knowledge of the country.

Auntieflo Mon 05-Dec-16 08:35:04

I have now found where the book went on my Ipad. It was in ' ibooks' . Started it last night, and enjoyed the first bit. Will let you know how I enjoy the rest, when, I finish .

rocketstop Mon 05-Dec-16 09:57:38

Thank you for the book.
It read more like a travelogue I suppose than a novel, maybe that's how it was supposed to be ? Like another reviewer said, maybe it's of more interest to someone who has travelled around Greece a lot as the author already has, for that reason, I passed it on to my Father in law !

Playermojo007 Mon 05-Dec-16 10:33:27

I was fortunate enough to win a copy. And I am enjoying this book so much . I highly recommend it to others. Light heart reading in little sections of different stories . So you can pick it up and put it down anytime during the course of the day.

Glosgran Tue 06-Dec-16 21:05:55

I was surprised to receive a parcel and pleased to find the book inside. I've enjoyed reading the book so far but at this time of year I don't have as much time to read as I'd like. Looking forward to some time curled up reading over the festive period and hope to be in time to comment more fully on the content of the book later.

DavidH22 Thu 08-Dec-16 10:56:01

I've read most of Victoria Hislop's previous books and enjoyed them but I'm sorry to say this was dull and disappointing. Like most books of short stories I never felt I got to know any of the characters or saw them develop in their fictional worlds. Certainly Ms Hislop's love and feelings for Greece, its people, traditions and cultures is wonderfully drawn and her writing transports you to those sandy beaches and small harbours. As rocketstop says it's more a travel book than a novel with that impression enforced by the numerous pictures. Having said all that I would not hesitate to read anything by Ms Hislop in future. And if she is still speaking to Gransnet after the criticisms could I ask a couple of questions? Are the short stories told to A your fiction or passed to you by Greeks you met? Could you say why you so obviously love Greece?

nannyto5 Thu 08-Dec-16 11:10:05

As I didn't receive the book until 25th November I am still in the process of reading. However, I am thoroughly enjoying what I have read so far. Victoria writes such brilliant descriptions of the people, the places, the atmosphere etc, that you feel you really are there. And I love the individual short stories, just long enough to read before you drop off to sleep. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story develops and concludes.

coffecup Thu 08-Dec-16 13:11:39

Always enjoy this author i like this book and would recommend her books to any memembers who have not tried them

weather Fri 09-Dec-16 11:44:54

Thank you very much for the free book it arrived just after I had returned home from hospital. I was over the moon as I had tried to reserve it at my local library but had not been able to. So looking forward to reading it after I have finished my current library book. I have loved all of Victoria Hislop's books and really look forward to enjoying this one. I have plenty of resting time to fill so I shall not be too long in doing so..I will come back when I have done so.

ecci53 Fri 09-Dec-16 13:03:34

I received a voucher to download it, but I don't do apple. Please give it to someone else. I don't remember the t&cs saying you had to have an apple device. I read ebooks all the time on my tablet, but I won't have anything to donwith apple.

Purpledaffodil Sat 10-Dec-16 07:28:42

The narrative of this book is set in 2016 and it was interesting to read current viewpoints on the Greek economy expressed by the characters. The format was short stories linked by this narrative using page colour and font to mark the differences. There were some evocative photos too.
I have read and enjoyed books by Victoria Hislop in the past, especially The Island. However the format of this one interrupted the flow and I found it hard to get into the story. The characters were stereotypes in the main and the ending felt contrived. Disappointing!

hjw2505 Sat 10-Dec-16 18:27:53

I found this book ideal for reading on my commute to work. The interwoven threads and stories at each location my have seemed disjointed if reading all I one go, but fitted well into my 2 20 minute bus journeys. I thought many of the stories had echoes of Greek myths and legends and there was a moral thread running through the whole book. The postcard images really added to the pleasure of reading this book

Waveney Mon 12-Dec-16 10:22:10

Thank you for this book - it's format was ideal for bedtime reading. I really enjoyed the short stories, and felt that they conveyed the atmosphere of 21st century Greece well. The author obviously is passionate about the country and made me want to visit a country I have never been to ( maybe this year?) I didn't find the wraparound story as convincing - the ending was very contrived. I felt it would have worked better as a selection of short stories, but maybe that wouldn't have sold as well! I would like to ask Victoria how many of the stories had an element of truth, or were they totally fictional. I have passed the book onto my daughter to read.

GandT Mon 12-Dec-16 16:11:16

My first Victoria Hislop book and probably not my last. I thoroughly enjoyed the 'diary' of stories as told by the traveller, but wonder how many of them are true as some paint a very disturbing and unattractive side to the Greeks. The inclusion of colour postcards (ebook version) added to the dialogue and sense of place as I have only visited Greece on one occasion. Like others, I thought the ending was very predictable.

annemac101 Mon 12-Dec-16 17:47:09

I have already gave my review of the book but after reading some people saying that this is the first book they've read by Victoria Hislop I wanted to say how much I have loved her other books. If you enjoy a bit of history surrounding a fiction story then you'll love her. She has become my favourite author but this one really isn't her best book. So give the others a try they're so good.

ValC Tue 13-Dec-16 00:06:54

I unfortunately didn't find this book very interesting. It seemed to jump all over the place and unlike most of the other posts I didn't find the illustrations added anything to the story. The ending was definitely predictable.

Redsmudgy Tue 13-Dec-16 09:05:15

I travel to Greece two or three times a year and have been to many of the places named in the book. I love this book, the stories and illustrations are a joy. However, I think that if you haven't experienced the Greek lifestyle you might find this book a bit disjointed and tedious.

marpau Wed 14-Dec-16 13:55:59

I found this book delightful it reminded me very much of a favourite book of my teenage years which was a collection of stories by Saki. The only story which left me with more questions than answers was the one about Athanasius visiting her father's village. As with previous books by this author it left me wanting to read another.

GeminiJen Fri 16-Dec-16 20:03:20

I found this good in parts.
The descriptions of Greece, its history, culture, mythology, anecdotes and human nature are very evocative. But I'm not a fan of short stories and found some of them rather weak, with predictable endings. And the ending was too neat/contrived for my liking.
That said, Victoria Hislop's love of Greece shines through and I found that heart warming.
While I came to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter if the stories are true, false or exaggerated, I'd still like to ask the author to tell us more about her choice. Also, to ask her what made her fall in love with Greece and its people, and what effect recent events have had on her views.

harrigran Tue 20-Dec-16 00:08:05

I am not finished this book yet, I am reading it a chapter a night. At first I found it rather fragmented and wasn't sure which way the book was going. When I realised that they were stories told to the traveller by locals of the towns visited it all became more interesting. I have never visited Greece so am not familiar with place names but it is still an interesting book and is well written.
My sister has asked to have the book after me as she often holidays in Greece and has read good reviews of Victoria Hislop.

Greenfinch Tue 20-Dec-16 07:09:23

I very much enjoyed the short stories.They were fascinating and varied but did not show the Greek persona in a good light.In fact it made the Greeks seem quite a spooky nation.However,I liked the stories so much that I have asked for a book of her short stories for Christmas.This was the first time I had read of Victoria's books.

Cosafina Wed 21-Dec-16 07:49:27

I dint know what to make of this book. The stories seem so disjointed, and to finish up with Daedalus and Icarus?
It's clear that Victoria Hislop loves Greece, so I imagine she wanted to try and share that with us, but I don't feel this book really succeeded, in that it hasn't made me desperate to jump on a plane to Greece.
Bit of a disappointment overall, I'm afraid

Craftycat Wed 04-Jan-17 15:17:07

I was so disappointed in this book. I love the Greek people, the place itself, the food & everything about it & I have read all Victoria Hislop's previous books.I must admit not with 100% liking ( there are errors) but she tells a good tale usually.
I felt this was just a cop out & a series of fairly bland tales with a flimsy thread holding them together. Not a good book to read on Kindle as the pictures are not great quality & the font changes requiring you to change it often.
I was really looking forward to reading it too.

sweetpea Mon 09-Jan-17 19:27:43

I,too, received a copy belatedly. Regret it went to the bottom of a pile of paperwork only to be resurrected recently and now on the book table with others waiting to be read! I hope I enjoy it once I start, but some of the negative comments have floored me somewhat. 🙁

Shinyredcar Wed 11-Jan-17 11:00:06

After issues with the electronic version, I was sent a hardback copy which suffered from the Christmas mail, so arrived very late. I had taken a volume of Victoria Hislop short stories from the library to see what I was missing. They were also about Greece. I found them easy reading, so started on Cartes Postales with a relaxed attitude.

I was surprised at the additional costs that the format must have caused, though the silk bookmark ribbon was an usual touch these days and added to the feel of the book. I wasn't convinced that the illustrations were worth the cost, or the added bulk. They may assist sales for those browsing in bookshops, though a high proportion of buyers don't handle a book until it is delivered.

Short stories are an unfashionable format these days, though I agree with other posters, they are handy for bedtime reading. I would like to ask Victoria whether she saw the book as a complete structure when she started to write it, or whether she tried to work out a way to sell a short story collection, and the book grew from that? She clearly enjoys that form.

Yes, the ending is predictable but the book is an enjoyable read, not great literature, so that's OK. Probably ideal to read on a Greek beach?

middleagespread Fri 13-Jan-17 13:29:35

Christmas prevented me from reading this book by the due date and I'm sorry, as grandMattie suggested maybe a later closing date might be in order. Retired I might be but busy, busy, busy is my watchword. However, once started I found it hard to put down. I found it was easy to follow and much like reading short stories for each destination brought a new interesting sometimes poignant story.My absolute favourite piece was about Costa and the description of love of his wife.
The postcards within the text of the kindle book were fun to look at and I almost feel as if I have now sampled the country. Definitely one to read and savour.

VictoriaHislopauthor Tue 24-Jan-17 11:56:10

annemac101

Victoria Hislop is one of my favourite authors, I just love her books however I didn't enjoy this one so much. The story started well and I became interested then the short stories started and I kind of lost interest. The short stories did not endear me towards the Greeks, I hated the thought that vendettas can last for years and can go on through generations. The photos went very well with each story and it was cleverly done. I liked the book better when the main story picked up again and the ending was rounded off nicely. At the end I decided I did enjoy it just not as much as her others. I would like to ask Victoria if she has already started or has an idea what her next book will be? I really want to read her other books all over again.

Yes, I am in the early stages on the next book. And once again the story is set in Greece. Over the past three years I have been reading and researching, and the idea has been “percolating” in my mind (most of us use nespresso machines these days, and the coffee percolator has gone out of fashion - but I still love the word!). It is a story set in the 20th century and explores part of Greek history that I believe very few people know that much about. I have found it fascinating to research the background.

VictoriaHislopauthor Tue 24-Jan-17 11:57:07

DavidH22

Are the short stories told to A your fiction or passed to you by Greeks you met? Could you say why you so obviously love Greece?

It’s a very gratifying question to be asked. And even some of my Greek readers have asked the same thing… The answer is that the stories are all entirely fictional - but as with all the stories I write, I want people to wonder. They are all meant to be stories that have an air of reality and they are all triggered by something I have seen, or something I have sensed - but my imagination does all the rest. I think storytelling should always have an air of doubt about it, so I am glad that you asked this question.

Why do I love Greece? Apart from the obvious beauty of the landscape, the climate, the food, the friendly people - I am fascinated by the history too and what I have learned about the connection of the landscape with the development (or lack of, in some cases) in the country as a whole. There is never a dull moment in Greece - politically or historically - and learning about its present and its past always excites me.

VictoriaHislopauthor Tue 24-Jan-17 11:57:40

Waveney

Thank you for this book - it's format was ideal for bedtime reading. I really enjoyed the short stories, and felt that they conveyed the atmosphere of 21st century Greece well. The author obviously is passionate about the country and made me want to visit a country I have never been to ( maybe this year?) I didn't find the wraparound story as convincing - the ending was very contrived. I felt it would have worked better as a selection of short stories, but maybe that wouldn't have sold as well! I would like to ask Victoria how many of the stories had an element of truth, or were they totally fictional. I have passed the book onto my daughter to read.

As I explain above, the stories, the characters, the plot are all entirely from my imagination. But each one was inspired/sparked off by something real or tangible - a place, someone’s face, a tradition I heard about or saw (such as the Theophania - which happens all over Greece where people are close to the sea - all the young men of the locality jump into the water on 6 January to swim for a cross thrown in by the priest - it’s kind of obvious to me that such a competitive situation could lead to trouble!). Another example was the sight of a violinist in Kalamata - he showed me that his violin had the name Stradivarius inside. So the violinist was real, but everything else is completely fictional. Reality just provides a tiny seed for the imagination.

VictoriaHislopauthor Tue 24-Jan-17 12:14:16

GeminiJen

While I came to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter if the stories are true, false or exaggerated, I'd still like to ask the author to tell us more about her choice. Also, to ask her what made her fall in love with Greece and its people, and what effect recent events have had on her views.

My choice of stories was dictated by the journey that I made around Greece. Every place I stopped presented me with an idea, at the same time as something visual - the creation of the photographs and the fiction happened very simultaneously. For example, the Man on the Mountaintop - was inspired by the sight of the man standing alone in the mist. This moment happens at the end of the story, but it was the inspiration for the whole. And the violinist, playing so happily in the sunshine inspired the story set in Kalamata about the busker.

I wanted to write a book where recent events are just “off-stage” so to speak. Anthony is very much travelling in the present - so the story of the laterna player who does not pay his taxes is very much based on the reality of Greece - i.e. many people don’t consider it their duty/responsibility to pay tax, so they simply don’t. I mention the day to day reality of Greece in Cartes Postales - but at the same time, I don’t want readers to forget its beauty. There are definitely these two sides to Greece - the dilapidated side (caused by the lack of public resources) and the eternally beautiful side (which is the aspect that people who go there for vacations see). They co-exist, and probably always will do.