Fiction — print. Harper, 2010. 384 pgs. Library copy.
I remember Jones’ first novel receiving a lot of attention when it first came out, but this particular novel caught my eye because its set in Cyprus since I have read a bit about Turkey aand the conflict with Greece over the island. Jones novel, however, focuses on a time known as the Emergency, a time when the British defended Cyprus against a colony of Cypriots determined to form a union with Greece in the 1950s.
Hal Treherne is a young British soldier recently transferred to Cyprus to defend the colony. After several months of separation, Hal is excited to be reunited with his wife, Clara, and their twin daughters. But Hal is pulled into the atrocities that often times come with war and occupation and is taken further from Clara.
At first, I thought I was having a hard time with this novel simply because my mind was elsewhere, my brain muddled with calculus problems and second derivatives. But, after perusing other book bloggers’ reviews and those on GoodReads, it appears that I wasn’t the only one unable to connect with the characters. The pace was quite slow, and I found myself increasingly bored with those long, meandering sections where I just wanted Jones to get to the point.
The horrors of war Jones wants the reader to feel and mull over left me unaffected. The catalyst for Hal and Clara’s downfall was a terrible event, but an event so simply described that I wasn’t affected the way I should have been.