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Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de…

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (original 1994; edition 1997)

by Louis de Bernieres

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6,105130671 (3.94)278
Title:Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Authors:Louis de Bernieres
Info:Minerva (1997), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (1994)

Recently added byccow, Kathj2, private library, sandrikoti, XStylianou, whiff, emmacp, Satur
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    BCCJillster: Different country, different war, same gusto of characterization and sense of place and community
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» See also 278 mentions

English (118)  Dutch (5)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  English (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
It's an excellent book that allows the reader some perspective of what the inhabitants of the Greek island Cephalonia endured during WWII and the ensuing years. De Berni̩res writes beautifully, stringing words like melodies. The only discord for this reader was the accompanying love story which for me was disatisfying despite the happy ending...hence my 4 star rating dropped to 3. ( )
1 vote Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
I adored the first 3 quarters of the book, it was wonderfully written and I fell in love with the characters (esp Dr Iannis), however, after Corelli's departure I thought the story was rushed and disjointed. The ending depressed and frustrated me. Despite that, the novel is absolutely wonderful and I look forward to reading it again in a few years. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
This was a very touching story that was a mixture of romance and history and I enjoyed it very much. The characters are the type that will stay with you for a long time. I thought it was very well written and I learned a lot of Mussolini and World War II. It's a type of book that you hate for it to end. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys love stories and history. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Set on the Greek island of Cephallonia, the story begins during World War II and follows Pelagia and her father Iannis through the rest of their lives. During the Italian occupation of the island, Pelagia falls in love with the young Italian captain who is billeted in their house, a romantic and quirky mandolin player named Corelli.

I fell in love with the book and its eccentric characters quickly. I would love to know these characters in person and to live in the village as it was before the war. The first half of the book definitely rates 5 stars from me, but the second half just barely made it to 5 stars because of how dark the story got as the atrocities of the war were piled on one after another. This made the book harder to read, but it did not detract from the quality. I can't wait to pick up some more of de Bernieres' books, especially The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts (because really, who doesn't want to read a book with that kind of title?). ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Music is good. War is bad. Love is timeless. These are the thoughts I am left with upon completion of de Berniers'Corelli's Mandolin.

I am not even sure where to start in a review of this novel. We are given the story of the Greek island of Cephellonia during and following World War II. Pelagia, lives an easy life in a picturesque village on the island. The daughter of the village doctor, she is unusually educated for a girl in those times and engaged to a handsome fisherman. And then the war. Her fisherman leaves to fight and comes back broken before once again leaving. The Italians bring war to Greece, followed by the Germans. On the heals of victory is occupation and Pelagia and her father find themselves host to a charming muscian who just happens to be a captain in the Italian army. His presence in their life changes everything, and their tragic love story is the major theme through the rest of the book.

Yet Corelli's mandolin is more than a love story. Interwoven throughout is the story of doomed Italian soldier, Carlo, the stories of several of the village inhabitants, a German soldier, Mussolini, the Greek Prime Minister, and even a goatherder. It is also a history lesson and treatise on music and culture. As much as I thrilled in the beautiful romance of Pelagia and Corelli, I enjoyed each of the additional threads equally. They completed the story. Life is never about just one great love. It is everything else happening around the couple that allowed that love to blossom. These additional stories complimented and completed the story of Corelli and Pelagia.

Louis de Bernieres is obviously a master of the written word. He weaved all of the stories in and out of each other expertly. He made me care about each of the characters and he captured their individual voices perfectly. Despite the rapid changes in perspective and voice, it was never difficult to determine who was speaking. Unfortunately, this also made it easy for me to put the book down and not pick it up again for days at a time. Because the chapters were short, I was able to finish one before putting the book down and didn't feel immediately compelled to pick it back up to find out what happens next. This is my only quibble with the book however, and admittedly it is a minor one. I enjoyed every moment of this book and will definitely be seeking out others by de Bernieres. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louis de Bernièresprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, MarjorieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bogin, LubinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[poem] The Soldier by Humbert Wolfe
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.
‘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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067976397X, Paperback)

In the early days of the Second World War, before Benito Mussolini invaded Greece, Dr. Iannis practices medicine on the island of Cephalonia, accompanied by his daughter, Pelagia, to whom he imparts much of his healing art. Even when the Italians do invade, life isn't so bad--at first anyway. The officer in command of the Italian garrison is the cultured Captain Antonio Corelli, who responds to a Nazi greeting of "Heil Hitler" with his own "Heil Puccini," and whose most precious possession is his mandolin. It isn't long before Corelli and Pelagia are involved in a heated affair--despite her engagement to a young fisherman, Mandras, who has gone off to join Greek partisans. Love is complicated enough in wartime, even when the lovers are on the same side. And for Corelli and Pelagia, it becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate the minefield of allegiances, both personal and political, as all around them atrocities mount, former friends become enemies, and the ugliness of war infects everyone it touches.

British author Louis de Bernières is well known for his forays into magical realism in such novels as The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. Here he keeps it to a minimum, though certainly the secondary characters with whom he populates his island--the drunken priest, the strongman, the fisherman who swims with dolphins--would be at home in any of his wildly imaginative Latin American fictions. Instead, de Bernières seems interested in dissecting the nature of history as he tells his ever-darkening tale from many different perspectives. Corelli's Mandolin works on many levels, as a love story, a war story, and a deconstruction of just what determines the facts that make it into the history books. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:44 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A captivating and mystical story of life and love during the wartime Italian occupation of the isolated Greek island of Cephallonia. Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, this rich and lyrical, heartbreaking and hilarious novel has been widely hailed as a classic. Set on the peaceful island of Cephallonia, just as the horrors of World War II reach its remote shores, Corelli's Mandolin is "an exuberant mixture of history and romance, written with a wit that is incandescent" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). 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 Cephallonia, 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 midst of the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love and affection: Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless, murderous guerilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island. Rich with loyalties and betrayals, and set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic, Corelli's Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.… (more)

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