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Cyprus comes alive
Though it took a while to get used to the island setting of Cyprus, moving between modern and ancient Greeks, I was moved by the relationship - or absence of any normal relationship - between the teenage Pavlos and his very strange archaeologist father, Aristo. The father is totally preoccupied with his clinging to the idea that he has another 'family' going back centuries if not millennia and yet, in a way, a family still alive and able to do things, perhaps unseen but with an unusual power of good or evil...
Yes, the plot leads us up through the winding mountain roads of the Troodos mountains at night, between looming cedars and Aleppo pines, until we reach a remote cottage where Aristo's ancient 'family' seem still to inhabit but, strangely, for me it wasn't the atmosphere that made me want to read on as much as the remoteness between the teenager and his father.
The boy longs to get closer to his strange father, who even tries to hypnotise him into a belief in another 'family', after Aristo's modern family were all believed burnt beyond recognition during the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus in 1974, while for his part the father, creepiness incarnate, wants to begin to understand his son's emotional needs. The total loneliness of a son in his father's presence and vice versa is handled nothing short of brilliantly. When the charming and sympathetic archaeologist friend of Aristo's, Katherine, meets up with the much younger son Pavlos, the tenderness [and a good measure of hanky panky] between the older woman and the teenager has to make this one a roller coaster if you fancy a tear-jerker a lá Grecque.