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

  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 García Márquez (krizia_lazaro)
  16. 13
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Johanna11)
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» See also 281 mentions

English (119)  Dutch (5)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  English (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
5 stars

On the Greek island of Cephallonia, village life is picturesque. It is populated by colorful old men, beautiful young girls, industrious fishermen, a hypocritical priest, a flamboyant strongman and “troupes of casual and impertinent goats”. But war comes to Cephallonia as it does to all of Europe. The village experiences foreign occupation, privation, violence, hardship and the Italian, Captain Corelli, with his mandolin.
Bernieres tells this story through multiple voices, sometimes as a first person narrative and at other times from a third person viewpoint. Despite a shifting point of view the plot moves forward in a fairly straight line. The character development is detailed and the writing is beautiful. Bernaries creates a slice of history with all of war’s impossible dilemmas and dramatic catastrophes. The story is tragic, triumphant and completely believable.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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. ( )
  EadieB | 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 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louis de Bernièresprimary 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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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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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