Lives Between The Lines

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781474618915

Price: £19.99

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In Lives Between the Lines, Michael Vatikiotis traces the journey of his Greek and Italian forebears from Tuscany, Crete, Hydra and Rhodes, as they made their way to Egypt and the coast of Palestine in search of opportunity. In the process, he reveals a period where the Middle East was a place of ethnic and cultural harmony – where Arabs and Jews rubbed shoulders in bazaars and teashops, intermarried and shared family history.

While lines were eventually drawn and people, including Vatikiotis’s family, found themselves caught between clashing faiths, contested identities and violent conflict, this intimate and sweeping memoir is a paean to tolerance, offering a nuanced understanding of the lost Levant.


Vatikiotis is quietly opinionated, a quality which makes him an admirable guide for this evocation of an era - a journey of personal discovery, where, despite complexities, everything stands neatly in historical and topographical context
Andrew Lycett, SPECTATOR
A brilliant evocation of an era when the Middle East was a haven of peace and prosperity for people fleeing Europe. Lives Between the Lines interweaves a fascinating family history with a portrait of a lost world - which has many echoes and lessons for today
Gideon Rachman
Lives Between the Lines is the moving and beautifully written story of a journey to explore [Vatikiotis's] identity by visiting the places - primarily Egypt and Israel - in which several generations of his Levantine ancestors made their homes. As well as being a highly personal family-memoir-cum-travelogue, it is a paean to tolerance between diverse faiths and different communities at a time when much of the Middle East is being consumed by bigotry, fanaticism and sectarian violence
Vatikiotis's pen portraits left me wanting more of this amazing cast of characters. For the family are bit-part players in what is in fact a potted history of the late Levant, living proofs in his view of the Ottoman Empire's enlightened approach to minority cultures . . . Vatikiotis's final two chapters describe and acknowledge the ambiguities consequent on Britain's eventual imperial retreat and the region's expulsions of foreigners - British, Jewish, Greek, Italian alike. They are easily the finest and worth the cover price alone . . . fascinating
Richard Spencer, THE TIMES
[A] human and fascinating insider view of Levantine families in the mid-twentieth century