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A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  38 reviews
It is July 1974 and on a bright, sunny morning, the Turkish army has invaded the town of Kyrenia in Cyprus. For many people, this means an end to their ordinary lives. But for some, it is a chance to begin living again. For one young woman, brought up without her mother and shunned by the community, the invasion brings an opportunity to, at long last, share her side of the ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Quercus Books (first published March 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Natalie Vellacott
It is July 1974 and on a bright, sunny morning, the Turkish army had invaded the town of Kyrenia in Cyprus. For many people, this means an end to life as they know it. But for some, it is a chance to begin living again.

I picked this book up in the library due to the title mentioning a Bible. But actually the watermelon, fish and Bible have little if anything to do with the story. The book instead relays a personal story of a cultural clash exacerbated by the war in Cyprus. The story is told from
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: turkey, greece, cyrpus, war
A completely "fictional" story given the number of coincidences that happen but a beautifully written book that captures both the insularity of a colonised people and the hideousness of war. The first fiction I have read about the Greek/Turkish war in Cyprus.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gripping fictional account based on the author's family memories of the 1974 troubles in Cyprus. It is haunting, both in terms of its lyrical prose but also because of the repercussions of the event as told from both sides and from that an English bystander. I challenge anyone to read this book and not empathise at some point with the characters whose lives are changed forever. It is the kind of book that doesn't exactly make enjoyable reading as the subject matter is too emotive yet it's a book ...more
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing and gut wrenching historical novel. This is a beautifully written story about the trials and horrors that a group of Cypriot women faced when they were taken prisoner during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The characters are believable and develop through the course of the novel. It is brutal and not for the feint-hearted. I hope Christy Lefteri brings us another novel soon!
Anna Tan
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ma-reading-list
I'm fighting the urge to write only complimentary things because Lefteri is my tutor lol.

Again, I feel that the reading of this book was slightly impacted by the fact that I was reading it in spurts, mainly while on various trains, and whilst really sleepy. Still, this goes to show that it wasn't particularly exciting to me, because I've powered through books in the middle of the night whilst dead-tired because I really wanted to know what happens next. At any rate, I liked it enough despite the
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-tour
On 15 July 1974 a coup d'état on the island of Cyprus, sponsored or ordered by the Greek military junta, overthrew the Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios III. On 20 July 1974 Turkey replied by invading Cyprus and occupying the northern part of the island. There was heavy fighting.
Archbishop Makarios had been something of a thorn in the side of the British in Cyprus in former years, but he was primarily a Cypriot nationalist, not a proponent of Enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece. The
Katie Higgins
Seeing as the author is currently in charge of my grades, I will be refraining from writing a review right now. ...more
David McClay
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic story

A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible is a wonderful story. It is heart wrenching at times but the undying love of the main characters wins over much of the hatred felt. A great read
Oct 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pulled in by the title of this book, which, believe it or not, does relate to the story. Lefteri's prose is stunning. Her language shines with life and drew vibrant images to my mind when I read this book. Her descriptions compile most of the novel and they are definitely the highlight. In general, I tend to be bored with books centered around the descriptions of a particular place and time, and built up with details of the characters, and that don't really have a plot, but I wasn't. The ...more
Michael Moseley
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
We seem to have started a trend in the book club of reading books that bring back memories of war zones from my past memories. The conflict in Cyprus in the 1970’s was an engrained part of my history. The inside story is so fascinating the way conflict splits people’s lives apart or in this case brings them together is something we has perhaps forgotten in out insulated western consumer lives. What we fret about s so unimportant when held in comparison with the lives of most people of the world. ...more
Joe Stamber
Set against the background of the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974, Christy Lefteri's novel is about a Cypriot woman who become involved in an inappropriate relationship and her daughter who does something similar. The plot that revolves around these two women and the men they connect to has the nucleus of a good tale, but it gets muddied in its telling. The POV meanders about and the story often drags, which together can make it difficult to enjoy at times. Considering its subject ...more
Helen Youings
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book brought home the fact that one can know something (the fact that Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974) but not really take it in (it was only in 1974!). I moved to live in Greece with my family in 1978 and as I was only 8, the events in Cyprus probably didn't register. However, even as I've got older and, even after visiting Cyprus only last year, it hadn't really clicked that these events were so recent.

This book is beautifully written, although I did have trouble with the staccato like
Elizabeth Bailey
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The opening grabbed me totally. I loved the lyrical style and the evocative imagery, which I found captivating. It's an emotional ride, tearing at the heartstrings. My only reservation was the sections where Richard tells his friend his story, which I found distancing. Unlike the rest, which was written present tense and gave the action an immediacy and intimacy that drew me in. Otherwise it would have been a five star read. Really clever title. The writer clearly has ...more
Miranda Ruth
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who would like to understand Cyprus better without taking sides.
A powerful story delving deep inside one of the most intractable conflicts of recent years. The poetic prose of this book evokes all the terror, intensity, sweat and squalor of the first few pivotal days of the Turkish invasion of North Cyprus. And it doesn't take sides. Through the prism of two love affairs from different generations that reached across the ethnic divide between Greek and Turk, we are drawn deep into a sensual and passionate world where there are no easy answers. There is a ...more
Rachel Kotsapas

I loved the story in this book and being married to a Cypriot refugee find the story to be close to my heart.
It was however one of the hardest books I have ever read.
I didn't mind the story being written in the view point of all the different characters but the descriptive writing was weird and annoying.I ended up skim reading it from about half way through just so I could find out what happened without having to read the unnecessary vivid descriptions.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This is the June book for The Walk Cafe Book Club.

I gave up at page 344 so I read quite a lot of it. It was too slow and boring. This is an event that the author felt quite strongly about but there were endless descriptions of nothing. A trip to cafe took about 3 pages. If I was choosing a book I wouldn't have picked this.
May 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could say nicer things about this book, but I gave up after 120 pages, bored. It's a very quick read, but not much happens, not very quickly. ,Much of it is at the same slow pace - to represent the slow pace of Greek Cypriot life perhaps? It is basically a romance with some war cruelty thrown in.
Emma Clarke
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
We follow the stories of: Koko, a beautiful red head Greek Cypriot who’s son has been shot dead in the war; a old British man living in London, living with his memories of Cyprus; and a Turkish soldier looking for his old lover.
I didn’t find the novel that compelling and kept neglecting it in favour of more interesting books. The twist was welcome but pretty predictable.
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lyrical novel about the invasion of Cyprus by the Turks. I loved the author s writing style and how she shows that love knows no frontiers. Richard's part was somewhat slow which broke somehow the novel.s pace. I found the title somewhat dull for such an interesting novel
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book as its historical setting has always interested me but unfortunately I found it slow and laboured. The pace kept stalling and I could not get into its characters- they felt distant and one- dimensional. Not what I wanted it to be!
Deborah Chappell
This book was very hard to read, I had to force myself to continue. Over half-way thru it, it started to get interesting. The constant change of perspective was confusing. I must admit, it was very informative, as I knew nothing about the conflict in Cyprus.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historically illuminating but sad
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Beautiful writing but lost the will to continue with the absence of any narrative drive - gave it to 20% but then gave up...
Not easy to read, but enjoyed it. The word manically was used Way too many times :(
Jun 19, 2011 is currently reading it
Shelves: book-group
Reading for The Walk Cafe book group meeting, Bridlesmith Walk Nottingham, Thursday 30th June 7.30pm
Oct 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I love reading.. but this book just became a bit of a paper weight to me. didn't give me the enjoyment books usually do.. ugh!
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but rather hard to follow in some ways as jumping from character to character - also rather far fetched coincidences in the story line that were not really believable.
interesting & emotional in its familiarity. prose tries hard to be a thing of literary beauty but does not always succeed.
Veronika Suess
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Egg- lemon soup? I have to get one... And man, how I want to travel to Cyprus now, just wonderful...
Jan Anderson
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lovely heartwarming story, read it in an afternoon
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Christy Lefteri was born in London in 1980 to Greek Cypriot parents who moved to London in 1974 during the Turkish invasion. She completed a degree in English and a Masters in creative writing at Brunel University. She taught English to foreign students and then became a secondary school teacher before leaving to pursue a PhD and to write. She is also studying to become a psychotherapist.