Monday, January 21, 2013
THE PEOPLE IN BETWEEN
The People In Between: Gregory S. Lamb
As the story opens you hear the voice of one young girl as she hopes to find her young sister. Running through the streets dodging the exploding bombs and the sounds of automatic rifles that filled the air, Hanife Yilmaz hopes to find her mother, father and younger sister before it was too late. Looking for her mother, she went in search of finding her but when the harsh reality set in what she found caused her to cry in horror, freeze in place and realize what she has lost forever. That was March 1964 as the author brings us to 2001 where we meet the two children born to this brave young woman who lost her battle in life during childbirth.
Kiraz Nora Johensson and her twin brother Nils never knew their mother because she died after giving birth to them. As Nora receives a call from her brother after so much time has passed between them she reunites with him to assist a friend in his gallery and hopefully reconnect with her brother. Hearing their banter, discussion and their short but brief conversation about their past, present and hopes for their futures Nora agrees to the post in the gallery that her brother brokered for her. Cyprus is the setting of this story and the author’s description makes the reader want to visit this enchanting place. The landscape, the history and the picturesque descriptions of so many places allows the reader to feel apart of the journey. Nora accepts the position to care for the gallery and meets Aydin Kostas a Cypriot. The author allows the reader to learn more about Nora’s father a Lieutenant Colonel, USAF who was on a fast track to become a General But, circumstances changed, his plane was shot down, his crewmate captured by the North Vietnamese and he spent the next two weeks evading capture. Fortunately for him he connected with a Special Operations Group and after Vietnam he was among the first U-2 pilots to arrive on Cyprus. But, her brother made some comments about their father and although he visits him in the home where he lives the answer to his comment, “What he didn’t do,” still remains to be revealed.
The history of this country is quite compelling as internal conflicts created fighting between two communities on this island causing the United Nations to have to send in peacekeeping forces in 1964 flashing back to where our story begins and why the young girl in the prologue lost her family and why. These forces are still in Cyprus today. Ten years later Greek Cypriots enacted a military coup with the help of military junta in Greece. However, Turkey used this coup to invade the northern part of the island where the Turkish forces stayed until after the cease-fire. The end result was in the partition of this Island. As a result the violence between these communities and the Turkish invasion that followed caused the unfortunate displacement of hundreds of thousands of people living in Cyprus. In 1975 the state of Northern Cyprus now became The Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus. The name was changed to its present one on November 15, 1983. The only country that recognized The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Turkey. Many Turkish settlers were given permission to live there illegally. Some chose to live and were given permission to live on Greek Cypriot land and property to slant the island’s population or demographics in favor of the Turkish Cypriots. In 2002 the UN Secretary General started new negotiations in order to unify the island and in 2004 both sides agreed on a plan for the island to be unified. Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004. Our story continues three years prior to this event in 2001 where Nora and her brother reconnect and begin to visit the many places her mother frequented when she met their father three decades before.
As Nora becomes more assimilated in the life of those living on this beautiful island she learns more about the tragic history, coup, the deaths and the dividing line or Green line that separates and divides the island. A line that marks where the clock stopped in 1974 and a line that divides this beautiful Island of Cyprus. The line stretches from 112 miles from east to west across the island where Greek-Cypriots people have not been allowed to pass or cross. There are some who come there to look to the other side hoping that someday the barbed wires will be lifted and removed so that what is left is not The People that Live In Between. Imagine what would happen if these people as Nora learns more about the island, the history of the family she visited, her brother’s hopes for his future would some day hear the words: You are free to go home to where you were born!
Nora’s time in Cyprus is about to end as her new friendship with a young man named Aydin has begun to bloom. But, there are some secrets not attributed to the island that many do not want revealed and if they were would change the course of many of the events that follow. Added in the knowledge of the human trafficking that is prevalent on one side of the island and the huge houses that are quite elaborate built by the Russians on the other trying to show the world what they have built. Nora and Nils listen to their father’s account about their mother, meeting her and take a final trip with him as he returns to America and passes away. Finding her way back to Aydin but not before commanding a position as the Press and Cultural Attaché to Cyprus, Nora finally make the decision her father knew she would to marry this amazing young man. But, Nils has many things in his past that he finally admits as he and Yosette, his wife begin their journey together once again. More dissention, more strife a referendum up to finally unite the people of Cyprus and what happens next allows the reader to know that not everything will change. Hoping to find her aunt the young child that disappeared at the start of the book, with the help of someone they meet in Cyprus will Nora get the answers she hopes to find about her family?
As Nora and Aydin’s time in Cyprus comes to an end, a new chapter in lives begins. Things are not always what they seem, the times still volatile and the search for answers yet to come. As you learn the final request of one man and you find out the hidden truths about another will these revelations tear them apart or bring them closer? When the final chapter is written and the author’s name revealed someone should definitely put this novel on the NYTIMES bestseller list. The history, the scenery vividly described, the story of an island, the people struggling to unite and the final outcome for some many call THE PEOPLE IN BETWEEN. Author Gregory S. Lamb reminds us of this beautiful and amazing place called Cyprus and will tempt the reader and tantalize you with the many descriptions of the places visited by each character and the hope that someday the Green Line will be lifted. Here’s to Freedom.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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