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Louis de Bernières

Author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin

40+ Works 16,904 Members 433 Reviews 66 Favorited

About the Author

Louis de Bernières was born on December 8, 1954, in England to a military family. He spent four months in the British army in his late teens. When he was nineteen, he spent a year in Colombia where he wrote a short story about a true incident of violence that occurred there. Fifteen years later, show more while recuperating from a motorcycle accident, de Bernières used that short story as the basis for the first volume of his Latin American Trilogy, The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord, and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. In the 1980s, de Bernières worked as an auto mechanic and then as a supply teacher in London. In 1993 he took a holiday on the Greek island of Cephallonia. That became the setting for Captain Correlli's Mandolin, a novel of war, love, and heroism, which remained on the (London) Times bestseller list for four years. It has sold more than 600,000 copies, has been reprinted in paperback more than thirty times, and has been translated into more than seventeen languages.The book also won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. It was also shortlisted for the 1994 Sunday Express Book of the Year. De Bernières was named one of Granta's 20 Best British Novelists in 1993, and Author of the Year 1998 by England's Publishing News. He will be give the opening night address at the 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival. His title The Dust that Falls from Dreams made the New Zealand Best Seller List in 2015 (Bowker Author Biography) show less
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Works by Louis de Bernières

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1993) 7,962 copies
Birds Without Wings (2004) 2,639 copies
Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord (1991) 1,101 copies
Red Dog (2001) 729 copies
A Partisan's Daughter (2008) 552 copies
Notwithstanding (2009) 317 copies
So Much Life Left Over (2018) 189 copies
The Book of Job (1998) — Introduction — 96 copies
Blue Dog (2016) 57 copies
The Autumn of the Ace (2020) 44 copies
Labels (1801) 44 copies

Associated Works

Crampton Hodnet (1985) — Introduction, some editions — 852 copies
Mortification: Writers' Stories of Their Public Shame (2003) — Contributor — 280 copies
Granta 43: Best of Young British Novelists 2 (1993) — Contributor — 177 copies
The Best American Essays 1997 (1997) — Contributor — 154 copies
The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories (2007) — Contributor — 133 copies
The Story of a Nobody (1893) — Foreword, some editions — 124 copies
Captain Corelli's Mandolin [2001 film] (2001) — Original book — 104 copies
La Bible (1990) — Preface — 25 copies
Captain Corelli's Mandolin: The Illustrated Film Companion (2001) — Introduction — 24 copies
A Distant Cry: Stories from East Anglia (2002) — Foreword — 12 copies
A Vintage Christmas (Vintage Minis) (2018) — Contributor — 9 copies
A Guide to Kayaköy (2013) — Introduction — 1 copy


1001 (92) 1001 books (87) 20th century (159) anthology (69) Australia (58) British (137) British fiction (54) British literature (73) contemporary fiction (60) England (89) English (76) English literature (112) essays (70) fiction (2,537) Greece (528) historical (141) historical fiction (548) history (83) humor (116) Italy (128) Kefalonia (57) Latin America (96) literary fiction (56) literature (141) love (103) magical realism (189) novel (376) Ottoman Empire (62) own (82) read (154) Roman (53) romance (215) short stories (88) South America (132) to-read (732) Turkey (208) unread (114) war (241) WWI (153) WWII (518)

Common Knowledge



A beautifully written romance, full of colouful characters, music, humour, and horror, set around the real event of the massacre of Italian soldiers by the Nazis on Cefalonia towards the end of World War 2. The islanders mostly escape the war, until Mussolini decides to declare war on Greece. This leads many of the young men on the island to leave and join the defence of Greece. They successfully repel the Italian invaders, many of whom duped into a war deliberately started by their vain leader, who wanted to "make Italy great again" and impress Hitler. The cost is great on both sides, leaving those who survived shattered in body and spirit. Mandras, a fisherman engaged to Pelagia, makes his way home to Cefalonia, once carefree, but returns embittered, mentally ill and suspects correctly he is no longed loved. He heads off to join the Greek resistance and is inducted into a group of Communists. Carlo, the only survivor of his Italian battalion is redeployed to the Division led by Captain Coreli - now part of the occupying forces on Cephalonia. He would rather make music than war, and is a talented mandolin player whose love for Pelagia is the core of the story. Pelagia is the fiesty daughter of the local doctor Ianis. Ianis is the only doctor in the village and occasional vet. He is writing a history of the island but never manages to finish it. Pelagia falls in love first with Mandras and gets engaged to him before he goes to war. Her love for him wanes though as he never writes back, as he is illiterate. Officers are billeted in local people's homes, and Corelli is put in theirs. Initially offended by his presence, she is impressed by his music and the decency of his nature, falling in love with him and losing him even though he survives the massacre and has to escape the island. He promises to return, but the islanders suffer many hardships including a a more draconian occupation under the Nazis, near starvation, the attrocities of Communists replacing the Nazis as the new oppressors, then the earthquake of 1953 where Iannis died as the house collapsed on him, and destroyed most of the houses on the island. Pelagia, after she was attacked by Mandras, goes to Mandras' mother for support. Drosoula disowned Mandras and went to live with Pelagia to support her. A baby who was abandoned outside the house became Pelagia's adopted daughter, Antonia, because she sounded just like the mandolin. The 3 of them are moved into a new earthquake proof house, after Velasarios the strong man giant saves the village. They live through the changes of the island as it becomes a tourist destination, until finally Corelli returns claiming he was embittered by seeing Pelagia with baby Antonia thinking she had married another. He had gone on to become a fireman and then a world-touring musician. Now retired he wanted to return and build a house where Pelagia's used to be. It was a happy ending, but I felt it was dragged out this way purely to cover the earthquake and social changes on the island. Pelagia and Antonio should have reunited sooner - one thing the film did right I thought.… (more)
LindaLiu | 153 other reviews | Jan 27, 2024 |
Wonderful! We visited the ruins of a town very much like this one last summer during our car trip around Southwestern Turkey. This novel made the ghosts we felt there come alive.
jemisonreads | 48 other reviews | Jan 22, 2024 |
the first page is one I would read to a prospective lover - if he laughs he's in
Overgaard | 153 other reviews | Jan 6, 2024 |



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