Stolen Time by Vangelis Hatziyannidis

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Stolen Time by Vangelis Hatziyannidis

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: An unusual and slightly spooky tale, Stolen Time mixes gothic and magic realist elements to great effect. The style is perhaps too distant for some, but Bookbag enjoyed it tremendously.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers
ISBN: 978-0714531267

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A young archaeology student appears on a TV game show and is spotted by a close-knit group of five intellectuals. The strangers make contact with the young man and offer him a small fortune if he will agree to spend two weeks with them in a remote hotel. He will be required to undergo a series of interviews with them, sometimes as a group and sometimes individually.

Once at the hotel, the young man begins to wonder if all is as above board as he had imagined. It appears that he is not the first highly-paid guest to have stayed at the hotel. One of the previous subjects seems to have left in a hurry. The hotel manager and his son are unforthcoming. A strange girl brings flowers to the hotel almost daily. And there is talk of a lost goddess whose name must never be spoken aloud, lest she wreak a terrible revenge.

Stolen Time is a curious, but very intriguing blend of gothic spookiness and magic realism. It also has a strangely stilted feel which could be a side effect of the translation from the original Greek, but on balance I don't think so. The translation is excellent. The young archaelogist speaks and writes in a formal way that is very reminiscent of the governess in Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. And as in The Turn Of The Screw, Stolen Time is very much concerned with how much power its narrator has to convince and manipulate the reader. Does this sect of intellectuals deliberately spend its time trapping its victims or is it the young man who is the real hunter? The eventual unravelling of the hotel's mysterious secret does not provide closure for the young man nor for the reader.

This is a moody, introspective and atmospheric book far more concerned with social dynamics, the nature of power and self-examination than it is with the course of events. It wanders backwards and forwards through its plot with a vague but insistent air of menace. It's full of a subtle meandering through the murkier side of the human pysche and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks to the publisher, Marion Boyars, for sending the book.

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Buy Stolen Time by Vangelis Hatziyannidis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stolen Time by Vangelis Hatziyannidis at


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