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Victoria Hislop

Victoria Hislop: The Island. A Beach Book or a Source of Societal Questioning?

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by Eve Filée

“A society is defined by what it rejects”, asserted Michel Foucault. This sentence is perfectly illustrated in the case of Spinalonga, a Greek island located east of the Cretan coast of Elounda. This small island of barely eight hectares has become the main scene of Victoria Hislop’s novel entitled “the Island”. The British author’s novel has been a bestseller since its publication in 2005, and two years later has won the Newcomer of the Year award and was shortlisted as the Book of the Year at the 2007 British Book Awards. This paper aims first to analyze Victoria Hislop’s writing style and the way in which she develops her plot, and secondly, the manner in which The Island leads the reader to ruminate questions of the societal organization through subjects of marginality and social exclusion. Drawing on theories of famous philosophers, we will conduct a discussion on the important themes addressed by the British author and compare them with our recent actuality. Indeed, Victoria Hislop’s novel is reminiscent of the pandemic from which we have just emerged. Themes such as epidemics, quarantines, civil, public and media responsibilities have also lived, after COVID-19, at the heart of our daily lives. Let us explore together how this humble book goes beyond simple holiday reading by turning itself into a mirror that reflects society in a perhaps unflattering way.

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