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

1001 (68) 1001 books (53) 20th century (66) book club (17) British (47) British literature (31) English (27) English literature (36) fiction (933) Greece (372) historical (63) historical fiction (246) history (34) Italy (101) Kefalonia (50) literature (48) love (69) love story (22) made into movie (21) music (19) novel (162) own (38) owned (20) read (57) Roman (21) romance (154) to-read (115) unread (48) war (152) WWII (397)
  1. 40
    Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières (Booksloth)
  2. 10
    Eleni by Nicholas Gage (Booksloth)
  3. 11
    Regeneration by Pat Barker (flissp)
  4. 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.
  5. 11
    Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst (one-horse.library)
  6. 11
    The Magus by John Fowles (Booksloth, edwinbcn)
  7. 33
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Booksloth)
  8. 11
    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.
  9. 01
    A Winter's Night by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (rrmmff2000)
  10. 01
    Aphrodite's War by Andrea Busfield (aliklein)
  11. 01
    The Hidden by Tobias Hill (Booksloth)
  12. 01
    Guernica by Dave Boling (BCCJillster)
    BCCJillster: Different country, different war, same gusto of characterization and sense of place and community
  13. 01
    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (starfishian)
  14. 01
    Little Infamies by Panos Karnezis (Booksloth)
  15. 03
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Johanna11)
  16. 25
    Love in The Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (krizia_lazaro)
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» See also 230 mentions

English (98)  Dutch (3)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  English (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Probably all I can think of has already been said about this book and the film that's based upon it.

What I'll do is try to describe what I think. I liked the book and at the same time I didn't like it.
I liked it for the original (for me!) way of shedding light on part of a country which war history I had no idea of. I liked the characters, even Madras and the few Germans that were singles out of the crowd. Bad things, horrible things happened, but a whole people is never bad, even though that is very hard to remember in these circumstances.
I liked the description of the way of life and the customs on that small island.

I disliked the romantic part of the book. Although I understand that almost inevitably a platonical romance develops when two young people live that close under extraordinary circumstances. I have a problem with happy endings when they follow a sad story that is mainly about a lot of other things but romance. In this case it also feels very constructed. Why not leave Iannis playing Antonia, making sure all the different story lines were neatly written to an ending.
An okay book, but I'm left with a big question mark as to why it was put on the 1001-list. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Feb 10, 2014 |
Beautifully written but I couldn't cope with the very graphic war details - didn't finish it. Watched the movie with bookclub group but it wasn't that great - those who had read the book hated the changed ending. ( )
  siri51 | Dec 11, 2013 |
really enjoyed this book written about Greece during WWII and the post war years. The author wrote in very short chapters and from different points of view. The second chapter, Duce, was in stream of consciousness in such a fashion as to paint the picture of his insanity. Most of all this is an anti-war book and author did not favor any country or political ideology. War was all a product of megalomaniacs. War hurts nature and people. It is also a love story and a story about love. It is a story about music and because I don't know music, I missed a lot here but a lover of music would appreciate this book and it should be tagged music. It is also a story of history. I don't know why it is 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, what did it contribute to the development of the novel, but I loved it. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Corelli’s Mandolin is historical fiction of the old school, a sweeping story to get lost in and fall in love with. Set on the Greek isle of Cephalonia during the Italian occupation of World War 2, the book follows a panoply of unforgettable characters- beautiful Pelagia, her father the doctor, Captain Corelli, Mandras the rebel, Carlo the soldier and more- each with his or her own heartbreaking, beautiful arc. This is a wonderful summer read, a book to linger over, smile over, cry over, a book that will leave its mark on your heart forever.
Full review: http://www.bostonbibliophile.com/2013/05/review-corellis-mandolin-by-louis-de.ht... ( )
1 vote bostonbibliophile | May 20, 2013 |
Utterly brilliant. Made me laugh, made me cry. ( )
1 vote Rachcampb | Apr 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louis de Bernièresprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary 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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:06 -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 6 descriptions

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