A Journey to the Heart of the Mediterranean

Alex Christofi

Think of a place where can you stand at the intersection of Christian and Arab cultures, at the crossroads of the British, Ottoman, Byzantine, Roman and Egyptian empires; a place marked by the struggle between fascism and communism and where the capital city is divided in half as a result of bloody internal conflict; where the ancient olive trees of Homer’s time exist alongside the undersea cables which provide the world’s internet.


In Cypria, named after a lost Cypriot epic which was the prequel to The Odyssey, British Cypriot writer Alex Christofi writes a deeply personal, lyrical and historical portrait and history of the island of Cyprus, from ancient times to the present day.


This sprawling, evocative and poetic book begins with the legend of the cyclops and the storytelling at the heart of the Mediterranean culture. Christofi travels to salt lakes, mosques and the eerie towns deserted at the start of the 1974 war. He retells the particularly bloody history of Cyprus during the twentieth century and considers his own identity as traveler and returner, as Odysseus was.


Written in the same sensitive, witty and beautifully rendered prose as his last book Dostoevsky in Love, with a novelist’s flair and eye for detail, Cypria combines the political, cultural and geographical history of Cyprus with reflections on time, place and belonging.


First published by Bloomsbury in May 2024


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