In her third eagerly-awaited novel, Victoria Hislop weaves a story of love and loss in the backdrop of two wars which tear apart the Northern city of Thessaloniki throughout the 20th century. A beautiful and epic novel that spans nearly a hundred years, “The Thread” is a magnificent story of a friendship and a love that endures through the catastrophes and upheavals of the twentieth century—both natural and man-made—in the turbulent city of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Victoria Hislop, internationally bestselling author of “The Island” and “The Return,” has written a wonderfully evocative and enthralling saga enriched by deep emotion and sweeping historical events, from fire to civil war to Nazi brutality and economic collapse. “The Thread” is historical fiction at its finest, colorful and captivating with truly unforgettable characters—a novel that brilliantly captures the energy and life of this singular Greek city.
Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a fire sweeps through the thriving multicultural city, where Christians, Jews and Muslems live side by side. It is the first of many catastrophic events that will change forever this city, as war, fear and persecution begin to divide its people. Five years later, young Katerina escapes to Greece when her home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she finds herself on a boat to an unknown destination. From that day, the lives of Dimitri and Katerina become entwined, with each other and with the story of the city itself.
Thessaloniki, 2007. A young Anglo-Greek hears the life story of his grandparents for the first time and realizes he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of people who have been forcibly driven from their beloved city. Should he become their new custodian? Should he stay or should he go?
Historical resurrection of the city of Thessaloniki
Victoria Hislop succeeds in bringing alive the city’s various facets. Every detail of the city’s residents daily lives is so well narrated that it fuels your imagination. What’s interesting about “The Thread” is the political context in which the story is set in. There’s hardly a moment in the lives of Dimitri and Katerina where the overwhelming circumstances in which they live in don’t bother them about their future. That’s one of the reasons why the couple send both their children abroad. However, the duo have such a strong bond with the city they lived in almost their entire lives that they never considered to migrate to the UK or the US despite repeated pleas from their son and daughter. “Even if we were given as many diamonds as there are drops in that ocean, there is nothing which would induce us to leave. We will stay in Thessaloniki until we die,” Katerina declares, when her grandson asks her why they didn’t migrate.
“The Thread” is heart-warming and devastating in equal measure. It’s a story which is bound to make a huge impression if you relate to the gravity of the situation in which Dimitri and Katerine had to make decisions in.