Reading group reviews: The Thread by Victoria Hislop
24 May 2012 / 1 Comment
We gave away reading group sets of The Thread by Victoria Hislop. If your reading group or book club has read the book, please do use this page to post your reviews and see what other reading group members think of it.
About the book
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the thriving Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. Five years later, Katerina Sarafoglou's home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece. Soon her life will become entwined with Dimitri's, and with the story of the city itself, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people.
Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' life story for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of the people who were forced to leave. Should he become their next custodian and make this city his home?
About the Author
Victoria Hislop is a writer and journalist. She writes travel features for the Sunday Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and Woman & Home. Victoria lives in Kent with her husband, Ian Hislop, and their two children.
Follow Victoria Hislop on Twitter.
The group thoroughly enjoyed The Thread. They loved the characters who they felt were so real. They felt they were being transported to Thessalonika as the research was so well done as at times it did not feel like a work of fiction as we got to know the historical problems of Thessalonika.The author gave us some interesting facts about Greece and the different cultures that lived there. Enjoyed the writing style , some members of the group not sure if chapter one should have been at the end .You already knew the 2 main characters would get together. We did have a long discussion querying the ages of Dimitri, Katerina and their grandson.Group members wished the book was longer.Several would have liked to have had Leonidas to have had a bigger role in the book.We drew comparisons between Greece in those days and Greece today.
Greenhills Library Reading Group
The Thread is the story of Thessalonika, Greece, from 1917 to the present day, beautifully and simply told via the lives of Dimitri and Katerina. It is also a love story and a story of hope. Hislop takes us through the years of the second world war, the occupation of Greece, the holocaust and the civil war, yet somehow manages to do this gently but believably. We get to know the families living in Thessalonika and the intimate details of their day to day lives, Christians, Jews and Muslims all living amiably side by side, and subsequently feel the pain and futility when communities and lives get ripped apart. Through it all, Katerina continues to sew (presumably the thread of the title) and her life remains entwined with Dimitri's, although one is rich and the other poor.
The discussion notes for the book say that Hislop wanted to 'open the eyes and tug the heart strings' and we felt that she managed to do that. Although we are obviously all aware that the second world war and the holocaust happened, none of us had previously known the history of Thessalonika or of the (mis)treatment of the different religious groups there. We also had our eyes opened regarding the Greek regime in more recent times. Hislop deftly, and with a light and easy to read touch, tells the human side of the story, which is what tugs so effectively at the heart strings.
Most of us have read both Victoria Hislop's previous novels and almost unanimously felt this one to be her best yet. We eagerly await her next....
West Rainton Reading Group
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