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Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994)

by Louis De Bernières

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,018141909 (3.94)326
Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli's Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history. The place is the Greek island of Cephalonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad. Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island's shores in the form of the conquering Italian army. Caught in the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love: Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerrilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island.… (more)
  1. 50
    Birds Without Wings by Louis De Bernières (Booksloth)
  2. 21
    Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner (thepequodtwo)
    thepequodtwo: Both de Bernieres and Kushner skillfully intertwine multiple story threads and characters to create a sense of time and place both passing and changing that is vivid and powerful.
  3. 10
    Eleni by Nicholas Gage (Booksloth)
  4. 11
    The Magus by John Fowles (Booksloth, edwinbcn)
  5. 00
    The Winds of War by Herman Wouk (paulkid)
    paulkid: Both are set in Mussolini's Italy, although Wouk's work spends time in Germany, Russia, and England while de Bernières spends time in Greece as well.
  6. 11
    Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst (TomWaitsTables)
  7. 11
    Regeneration by Pat Barker (flissp)
  8. 01
    Aphrodite's War by Andrea Busfield (aliklein)
  9. 01
    A Winter's Night by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (rrmmff2000)
  10. 01
    The Hidden by Tobias Hill (Booksloth)
  11. 01
    Guernica by Dave Boling (BCCJillster)
    BCCJillster: Different country, different war, same gusto of characterization and sense of place and community
  12. 45
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Booksloth)
  13. 01
    Little Infamies by Panos Karnezis (Booksloth)
  14. 01
    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (starfishian)
  15. 35
    Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (krizia_lazaro)
  16. 13
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Johanna11)
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» See also 326 mentions

English (130)  Dutch (4)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  All (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (141)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
great except for the ending (last 50-100 pages) ( )
  mvayngrib | Mar 22, 2020 |
This novel is a mixture of romance, history and a political polemic. It’s mostly set in the Greek village of Cephalonia during World War II when Italy occupied it. The Greeks fight back and Germany comes to Italy’s rescue. But the Germans turn on the Italians after the alliance ends. Politics and the futility of war is a theme of the novel.

The three main characters are doctor Dr Iannis, his beautiful daughter, Pelagia, and Captain Corelli, an Italian soldier billeted with them. Dr Iannis initially gives Corelli a hard time but the whimsical, likable and eccentric Italian ingratiates himself with him and his daughter.

Pelagia is betrothed to a fisherman, Mandras. De Bernieres shows us the horror of war through Mandras’s and other’s eyes.

One of the novel’s many strengths is the unpredictable but plausible actions of the characters.

De Bernieres’s colourful and compelling writing weaves an engaging story. It made me laugh cry and sad. You don’t have to be a World War II aficionado to enjoy this great novel.
( )
  Neil_333 | Mar 6, 2020 |
This is one of my all-time favorites. You have to get through the first 100 pages of character development and then it gets REALLY good. ( )
1 vote rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
3.25 stars

During World War II, Greece is occupied by Italian soldiers. Captain Corelli stays at a house with Dr. Iannis and his daughter, Pelagia. Although Pelagia is betrothed to a Greek boy who has gone to fight, she and Corelli fall in love.

I could have done without the entire first third of the book or so. It was a lot of background/setup, and the story really didn't get interesting to me until Corelli entered the picture (a third of the way into the book). That storyline held my attention. I liked Corelli, Pelagia and her father. Other chapters that focused more on the war and on Pelagia's betrothed really weren't interesting to me in the least. I did like that there were plenty of humourous bits in the story. I also loved Pelagia's pet pine martin, Psipsina. Once the war ended, and the focus was back on Pelagia, it was, once again, much more interesting to me. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 5, 2019 |
I really enjoyed the first half of this, but the second half really dragged quite terribly. It reminded me a lot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's work, in terms of atmosphere and use of extremely poetic language to tell a story not entirely dissimilar to Love in the Time of Cholera.
Maybe if I hadn't recently read that, and was reminded of it so much in the ending of this book, I would have appreciated this more... ( )
  Sammystarbuck | May 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
De Bernières, Louisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, MarjorieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bogin, LubinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engen, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
[poem] The Soldier by Humbert Wolfe
Dedication
To my mother and father, who in different places and in different ways fought against the Fascists and the Nazis, lost many of their closest friends, and were never thanked.
First words
Dr. Iannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse.
Quotations
‘Love is a kind of dementia with very precise and oft-repeated clinical symptoms. You blush in each other’s presence, you both hover in places where you expect the other to pass, you are both a little tongue-tied, you both laugh inexplicably and too long, you become quite nauseatingly girlish, and he becomes quite ridiculously gallant.’
‘And another thing. Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like a volcano and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever be apart. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body... That is just being ‘in love’ which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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