“The Thread”

The Thread Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop’s eagerly-awaited third novel, “The Thread”, is published in the US by Harper Paperbacks on July 10, 2012.

A beautiful and epic novel that spans nearly a hundred years, The Thread is a magnificent story of a friendship and a love that endures through the catastrophes and upheavals of the twentieth century—both natural and man-made—in the turbulent city of Thessaloniki, Greece. Victoria Hislop, internationally bestselling author of The Island and The Return, has written a wonderfully evocative and enthralling saga enriched by deep emotion and sweeping historical events, from fire to civil war to Nazi brutality and economic collapse. The Thread is historical fiction at its finest, colorful and captivating with truly unforgettable characters—a novel that brilliantly captures the energy and life of this singular Greek city.

Synopsis

Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Moslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change for ever this city, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people. Five years later, young Katerina escapes to Greece when her home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she finds herself on a boat to an unknown destination. From that day the lives of Dimitri and Katerina become entwined, with each other and with the story of the city itself.

Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears the life story of his grandparents for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of people who have been forcibly driven from their beloved city. Should he become their new custodian? Should he stay or should he go?

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Reviews

“I never knew how painful and difficult the history of modem Greece had been until I read “The Thread” (Headline Review) by Victoria Hislop, my favourite of her three novels so far. With a large cast of memorable characters, it tells the story of Thessaloniki from the great fire of 1917 to the present day and manages to be at once a romance, a thriller (the Second World War sequences are brilliant) and a sombre reflection on how Greece got to where it is today.”
Anthony Horowitz, Telegraph Books of the Year

“…a sweeping, magnificently detailed and ambitious saga that wrestles with the turbulence of the period … those who loved The Island, her hugely successful first novel, will fall on it”
The Sunday Times

“Hislop has done well to tell a story as diverse and tempestuous as Thessaloniki’s with such lightness of touch.[…] The novel’s overarching power derives from the fluidity with which these rapidly changing times are treated.”
The Spectator

“‘The Thread’ is a more ambitious novel than her previous books, more expansive in its sweep of history, more controversial in its political stance. Her many, many fans will be delighted with what is her best novel yet.”
The Scotsman
(full review)

“Hislop … is very good at interweaving the lives of individuals into the backcloth of great events… this is a writer of laudably high ambition and it would only take a small nudge to move her to a whole new level. Recommended”
Daily Mail
(full review)


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All novels which use history as a backdrop require and deserve diligent research into the world the writer hopes to portray. These are some of the books I read during my research for ‘The Thread’. In addition to these, there are others in the London Library, in the Modern Greek History section as well as in the Embroidery section:

  • Concise History of Greece – Richard Clogg
  • Hellas – Nikolaos Gatzogiannis
  • Remember Greece – Dilys Powell
  • The Colossus of Maroussi – Henry Miller
  • The Hill of Kronos – Peter Levi
  • 92 Archanon Street – John Lucas
  • Greek Fire – Nicholas Gage
  • Salonica, City of Ghosts – Mazower
  • Chronicle of the Big Fire – Yerolympos
  • Farewell to Salonika – Leon Sciaky
  • Twice a Stranger – Bruce Clark
  • Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe – Renee Hirshon
  • Population Exchange and Rural Settlement of Refugees – Kontogiorgi
  • The Unmixing of Turks and Greeks – Nansen Memorial Lecture – Huntford
  • Crossing the Aegean – edited by Renee Hirshon
  • I was sent to Athens – Morgenthau
  • Smyrna: The Destruction of a City – Marjorie Housepian Dobkin
  • Paradise Lost, Smyrna 1922 – Giles Milton
  • The Balkan Exchange of Minorities – Dimitri Pentzopoulos
  • Greece and the Greek Refugees – Eddy
  • Beyond the Aegean – Elia Kazan
  • Christ Recrucified – Kazantzakis
  • Motherland – Dmetri Kakmi
  • Not Even My Name – Thea Halo
  • Farewell Anatolia – Dido Sotiriou
  • The Mermaid Madonna – Stratis Myrivilis
  • Secrets of the Bosphorous – Morgenthau
  • The Jewish Community of Salonika – Bea Lewcowicz
  • The Illusion of Safety – Michael Matsas
  • From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Back – Kounio Amariglio
  • The Holocaust in Salonica: Eyewitness Accounts – Ed. Steve Bowman
  • Greece – A Jewish History – Fleming
  • Road to Rembetika – Gail Holst
  • The House by the Sea – Fromer
  • The Origins of the Greek Civil War – Close
  • Greek Civil War – O’Ballance
  • Becoming a Subject: Political Prisoners – Polymeris Voglis
  • After the War was Over – Ed. Mark Mazower
  • Eleni – Nicholas Gage
  • Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewries – ed. Goldberg

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Forthcoming Events

These are a few of my favourite (Greek) things…

Ergon 16 Picton Place, London W1: superb new Greek restaurant and Greek products - highly recommended. For their website click here.

The Life Goddess which offers some of the best Greek food products in London - and also boasts a fabulous restaurant/café, has become one of my favourite new haunts

Athinaikon Restaurant - 34 Mitropoleos Street, Athens. - Beautiful, Greek food with a twist…

Prosopa Restaurant - Konstantinopoleos 4/Megalou Vasileiou 52, Athens - Delicious modern food in great surrounding, good music…

Akadimias Brizolakia, 61 Akadimias Street, Athens - Simple, well-cooked, traditional…

Athens Daily Secret - for visitors and residents, every day, subscribers to the site are sent some glorious tip or recommendation on something delicious to see, do or taste in Athens.

• There is a beautiful new restaurant on the sea front in Thessaloniki - wonderful food and décor, with vintage toys and adverts - really worth a visit - "Ayioli" at 15 Niki Street, Thessaloniki.

• Costas Voyatzis in Athens introduced me to his hugely successful website featuring extraordinary and beautiful design - do have a look!…
www.yatzer.com

• A recent discovery in Athens Chromata, Skoufa 62, Kolonaki - a great restaurant/bar with fantastic music...

• One of the funniest women I have met in years…
Katerina Vrana

• LIQUID GOLD - The most amazing Cretan olive oil is now being imported into the UK - it has a truly exceptional flavour as well as remarkable healthy giving properties. You can buy it from www.liquidgoldproducts.co.uk

• Beautiful olive oil direct from Crete:
www.myolivebranch.co.uk

• "ILaBoom" makes beautiful miniature light boxes to order. I was given one as a gift(see it here) and it's one of the most delightful things I own. www.psyboom.etsy.com

• Bespoke shoes in central Athens. Kozatsa have been creating them since 1936. They're at 11 Kanari Street, Kolonaki, Athens 106 71 or online at www.kozatsa.gr

• The focus of Greek culture and language teaching in Central London, The Hellenic Centre:
www.helleniccentre.org

• Learn Greek! I recommend Hara Garoufalia-Middle's excellent Total Greek

• Hellenic Bookservice: If you want to get hold of any Greek books, contact monica@hellenicbookservice.com
www.hellenicbookservice.com
Tel: 0207 267 9499

Reviews

Praise for "The Story"
Victoria Hislop’s collection of favourite short stories by other female writers, simply titled The Story has given me more pleasure this year than almost all the rest of my reading put together. Like a box of festive Quality Street, you can dip in and never be sure what you will encounter – it might be Virginia Woolf or Alice Munro, this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature winner. Hislop highlights some of the very best writing of the past 200 years, with topics that range far and wide, from humour to pathos, and politics to sex.
Books of the Year: Mariella Frostrup, Mail on Sunday

"This huge, beautiful book is a treasure chest of 100 women's short stories chosen by Victoria Hislop. There are classics, such as Elizabeth Taylor's The Blush and Katherine Mansfield's The Canary. In fact, the index reads like a roll-call of the best female writers of the past century, from Virginia Woolf to Hilary Mantel. Alongside Helen Simpson's brilliant Up at a Villa, in which heartless teenagers get a vision of their future selves, there's Muriel Spark's The First Year of My Life, in which a baby narrates the world events of 1918. Relative newbies such as Lucy Wood (Diving Belles) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (The Thing Around Your Neck) more than-hold their own beside thundering names such as Alice Munro, Nadine Gordimer and Margaret Drabble. A collection so good, it's essential."
The Times.

Praise for "The Last Dance"

Intricate, beautifully observed and with a painter's eye for imagery, in these stories Hislop evokes Greece, its people, its customs and traditions with a sensitivity that reveals her deep knowledge of not just the place but also the human condition.
Sunday Express

Intricate, beautifully observed and with a painter's eye for imagery, in these stories Hislop evokes Greece, its people, its customs and traditions with a sensitivity that reveals her deep knowledge of not just the place but also the human condition.
Sunday Express

These short stories, which are about Greece, are written in a style that reminds me of Louis de Bernières or Andrew Nicoll - laden with a sort of beguiling innocence. There's a sweet one about two Greek brothers; they are twins, and run a restaurant. But they have slightly different ideas, and split it in half, In another story, a talking parrot reveals the secret of a love-struck priest In one I really liked, a mother and a daughter run a bakery, and it's the mother's frustration that enables her to make such good bread. A single moment in daughter's life makes you think the bread will be good for years to come.
Evening Standard

Praise for "The Thread"

“…her vivid storytelling makes a fascinating, turbulent place and time spring to life.”
Plain Dealer

“…Victoria Hislop gives us a remarkable Katerina and an admirable Dimitri. They may be fictional characters, but they represent an entire generation of a heroic people whose story should not be forgotten. The Thread is a wonderful addition to the historical fiction genre.”
Historical Novels Review

“Hislop writes in rich, vivid detail about the city by the sea, bringing its diverse population to life.”
Shelf Awareness

I never knew how painful and difficult the history of modem Greece had been until I read "The Thread" (Headline Review) by Victoria Hislop, my favourite of her three novels so far. With a large cast of memorable characters, it tells the story of Thessaloniki from the great fire of 1917 to the present day and manages to be at once a romance, a thriller (the Second World War sequences are brilliant) and a sombre reflection on how Greece got to where it is today.
Anthony Horowitz, Telegraph Books of the Year

Hislop's fast-paced narrative and utterly convincing sense of place make her novel a rare treat.
Guardian

"…a sweeping, magnificently detailed and ambitious saga that wrestles with the turbulence of the period … those who loved The Island, her hugely successful first novel, will fall on it"
The Sunday Times

Buy “The Thread”