A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible, By Christy Lefteri

The heady aroma of conflict

This novel about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 is told from the viewpoints of three characters: a Greek, a Turk and a Briton.

The Greek is a red-haired woman shunned by her community and whose son is killed in the invasion; the Turk is an invading soldier looking for the Greek woman he loved years before; the Briton was stationed in Cyprus in the Forties and impregnated a Greek woman.

The cruelty and violence of war are vividly portrayed and the atmosphere is redolent with the odours of Greece: lemons, jasmine, coffee, cigarette smoke. But the storytelling is over-the-top, and characters have a habit of launching into stagy dramatic monologues that feel as if they belong in a Dickens novel.