August 2015 Club

The Sunrise - Victoria Hislop

Glamorous 1970s Cyprus is the setting for The Sunrise. In the early 70s, Famagusta was a glittering destination for the wealthy, with each seafront hotel competing to become the most modern and opulent.

The Sunrise hotel, owned by ruthlessly ambitious Savvas Papacosta, was the latest and tallest to be constructed. Dripping in luxury, from the limestone statues in the ballroom to the gilded dolphins in the lobby, it emanated an impression of ultra-modern grandeur, as does Savvas’s wife, Aphroditi. She drips in jewels and wears a succession of expensive gowns but these accoutrements fail to hide an unhappy marriage. She has a torrid affair with her nemesis - hotel manager, Markos Georgiou.

But the political situation on Cyprus reaches crisis point when the Turkish invade the island. With tales of brutality on both sides, most of the 40,000 residents of Famagusta flee for their lives, with the exception of two families – the Georgious (Greek Cypriots) and the Özkans (Turkish Cypriots). The city is cordoned off and Turkish soldiers patrol its streets. Both families survive by helping each other and by scavenging through decaying shops. Their situation becomes increasingly dire as the months go by and after the Özkans’s home is ransacked, they decide to move to The Sunrise, as Markos is the keyholder.

The families live in relative luxury in comparison to what they’d had to endure and it’s endearing to see them growing closer together as Greeks and Turkish Cypriots throughout the rest of the island are killing each other in hatred.

But what happens when Aphroditi finds her way back to Famagusta in an attempt to find the indifferent, untrustworthy Markos? And will the families ever escape?

To this day, Famagusta is sealed off behind barbed wire put up by the Turkish army.


Colourway inspiration

Translucent blue and pale gold are the hues of Cyprus – Hromata tis Kiprou – and I incorporated them into the variegated colourway which I called Chandelier Sparkles.

When the hotel chandeliers are hoisted into position, they create “a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns” reflecting their surroundings. So I chose those turquoise blues, golds, emerald and the purple of the nightclub that Aphroditi objects to so strongly. There are 8 colours in all in the variegated colourway applied in a random spatter-dye style to invoke the sparkling effect of the light catching the chandelier crystals.

Hislop captures the 70s details with evocative precision from the fashions to the food and I wanted to reflect this somewhat in the semi-solid colourway.

On the evening of the opening of the hotel’s nightclub, Aphroditi wears a “bold green dress to offset the translucent aquamarines”. When Markos catches sight of her, he thinks of Crème de menthe which he describes as a “dislikeable” drink. To add depth and avoid the flatness of just green, I first dyed the skeins in aqua, then added the emerald green, which gives a rich green with just a hint of aquamarine.

The yarn is a heavy laceweight in an exquisite blend of Blueface Leicester and silk which I thought was perfect for the last of the summer club yarns.