Saturday, 12 June 2010

Locus Focus - Spinalonga

Locus Focus is a meme hosted every Saturday by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. "We all know of books that make their settings come alive, and this meme is a chance to write about them and share them with others." Visit her blog and link up!

My Locus Focus today is a place from 'the Island' by Victoria Hislop, one of Voodoo Bride's favourite book.

Spinalonga is an island in Greece that has been used for a long time as a colony for lepers. And I'm not talking somewhere in the middle ages, I'm talking about the 20th century. People who suffered from lepracy where send to this island to live and eventually die there. Only when a cure was finally found for lepracy was the island abandoned and today it can be visited as a tourist attraction.

I think Spinalonga is a very intriguing place. I wonder how it must have been to live there, knowing you couldn't ever leave and would never see your friends and family again. How do you pick up your life when dislodged from your world and planted on this island where you are expected to rebuild your life (or what's left of it), going on day after day with the only certainty that you will only get worse and never better? The thing that really got to me in the book is reading how people did indeed manage to go on and start a new life on this island.

You may ask what kind of life they had . Well when you visit this island you will see where we dissembark at the big stone entrance to the Street of Pain. you will be walking walking along the lines of shops and small houses which were situated at the bottom of the hills , along the coastline and near the main gate . At certain times during the day there must have been an atmosphere of busy life - even there, with people coming and going, chatting and may be laughing, not all, of course, being deadly ill. some of the lepers were married to each other, and lived together in small apartments, having a a garden outside to tend. Perhaps they had some hens, a dog or cats. (Shamelessly borrowed fom another website)


Alice Audrey said...

Looks like a dry and dusty place.

I imagine the change would be harder for some people than for others. Not only do we all have different levels of resilience, but having an excuse to start over could be a blessing for some.

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, my! What a setting. Strangely enough, it reminds me of one of my favourite places in the world, the "island fortress" of Corregidor. Used a strategic army base by troops from four different countries, it is one of the most battle-scarred places on earth; but today, it is also the most peaceful place you could visit. I think all the pain it has been witness to helped make it the beautiful island it is today, and I believe the same thing about Spinalonga. I'd love to visit someday. =)

For the setting alone, I can understand why Voodoo Bride loves this novel--but then again, I love settings! ;)

diaryofaneccentric said...

Now I'm really looking forward to reading The Island. I just bought this at a library sale for 50 cents!


Sullivan McPig said...

Oh, I think you'll love it.

Paul Stilwell said...

If I ever go to Greece, I will definitely go to this place.