I understand that Victoria Hislop is a travel journalist with the Daily Telegraph, I may be wrong. But the thing about journalists, at least people who write for a living, is that they are constantly looking for good subjects to write a best selling book.
Hislop came on a fortnight's holiday to Elounda, visited Spinalonga, the island just to the north of Elounda off Plaka, and she then went back to the UK, did some research and wrote what she hoped to be a best selling novel.
The question is, did she succeed?
Well the book has sold very well especially since it received good reviews from Richard and Judy among others. So, fair enough, she did that and hopefully made some money. Did she write a great literary novel? No, I don't think so. Maybe she never tried to.
The problem with 'The Island' is that it is a great book to read on a plane, a train or even a bus. For many it is a great story. But the characterisations are what some people call flat. They are not well rounded and it is not easy to remember people like that. The story lacks a great deal. The history of the island of Spinalonga is long and tragic. The fifty years or so of its status as a leper colony is small but dramatic in the mists of time. The language that Hislop uses is simple and lacks adjectival merit. It could have been written well, but it was written , shall we say, not so well. Rather like a cheap romance novel.
Many people like cheap romances though, so what can I say.
I read it once and I thought that it was not very good. The story lacked a lot of drama and it was hardly nailbiting. But then I know quite a lot about Spinalonga, about the tragedies there over five hundred years or more. The Island is a romantic class of novel, but not a great one. However when we compare it to the general quality of novels appearing these days, it is fair?