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A Partisan's Daughter by Louis De Bernières

A Partisan's Daughter (2008)

by Louis De Bernières

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Started slowly, and the shifting narrative takes time to get used to, but turned out to be a rather touching love story in the end, albeit unconventional. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
Typically De Bernieres tale of love and loss. It's not my favourite by this author by a long way but I did enjoy reading this and rattled through it in a bit more than a week.

If you like this author then you will like this book. ( )
  twosheds | Feb 26, 2014 |
An odd little book, much shorter than Corelli's Mandolin or Birds Without Wings. It is the story of Roza (the titular partisan's daughter) and Chris, a forty-something London man. The chapters are relatively short and the narration shifts back and forth between Roza and Chris (and sometimes Chris as Roza or Roza as Chris).

They meet when Chris attempts to pick up Roza, who he thinks is a prostitute. He begins visiting her at her run-down house, not for sex but to hear her stories of her father - the partisan - and her childhood, and how she came to be living in London. The two begin to feel true affection for each other - they may even be falling in love - but one night Chris makes a terrible mistake when drunk, and Roza disappears.

One gets the sense that Roza - and maybe Chris also - is an unreliable narrator, but a larger framing device is lacking, so altogether the effect is a bit confusing. However, the author is a master of voice, and the story is laced with unexpected humor as well.


When you look back afterwards, you can always find another way of putting it. You say, "I was obsessed, it was really lust, I was fooling myself," because after you've recovered from being in love, you always decide that that wasn't what it was. (9)

...in that region it isn't ever possible not to live a hostage to history. They're all possessed and tormented by it. It takes the logic and humanity out of their souls and gives them heroic stupidity. (32)

I once heard a joke about Irish Alzheimer's disease, which is when you forget everything but a grudge (47)

What struck me was how strange language is, when you don't know what it means. (63)

A broken heart travels with you. (112)

...but now I know that everyone's escaping from themselves. Everybody's on the run, and then one day you've stopped running, and that's when you're dead, and nobody ever gets to be where they wanted. (132)

She said she'd discovered that even atheists pray when they're desperate. (160)

"Nobody sees what they don't know." (177) ( )
  JennyArch | Sep 23, 2013 |
An interesting summary of post-war Yugoslav history, delivered via a plot which makes the mistake of assuming that the reader finds the characters interesting. Unfortunately, the gradual revelations offered by the plot are either predictable or opaque, making it very hard to care. Well put together, but lacking a certain something. ( )
  gbsallery | Aug 9, 2013 |
Set in England in the 1970's with alternating chapters and viewpoints we are drawn into the life of middle-aged Chris - bored, lonely and never eager to go home to the "Great White Loaf" and Roza a young Yugoslav immigrant whose father was one of Tito's partisans. Roza is a masterful storyteller who has seized more than her share of moments in life and struggles with love. Sometimes told in the present sometimes in recollection with historical and political touch points a celebration of ordinary people and the sadness that comes from one wrong choice. I loved this book, read it in one sitting and will be checking out his other books soon! ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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'Le marriage bourgeois a mis notre pays en pantoufles, et bientot aux portes de la mort.' Albert Camus, La Chute
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I am not the sort of man who goes to prostitutes.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 030726887X, Hardcover)

From the acclaimed author of Corelli’s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings (“de Bernières has reached heights that few modern novelists ever attempt” —The Washington Post Book World) comes an intimate new novel, a love story at once raw and sweetly funny, wry and heartbreakingly sad.

He’s Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, he’s a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.

She’s Roza: Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito’s partisans. She’s in her twenties but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although she’s not a hooker, when she’s propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.

Over the next months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. She’s a fast-talking, wily Scheherazade, saving her own life by telling it to Chris. And he takes in her tales as if they were oxygen in an otherwise airless world. But is Roza telling the truth? Does Chris hear the stories through the filter of his own need? Does it even matter?

This deeply moving novel of their unlikely love—narrated both in the moment and in recollection, each of their voices deftly realized—is also a brilliantly subtle commentary on storytelling: its seductions and powers, and its ultimately unavoidable dangers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Bored, lonely, and trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage, forty-something Chris is a stranger to London's 1970s youth culture, when he propositions Roza, a Yugoslavian newcomer who spends the next few months telling Chris the story of her past.

» see all 7 descriptions

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