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Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994)

by Louis De Bernières

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,272143933 (3.93)335
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 335 mentions

English (131)  Dutch (4)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All (1)  All languages (143)
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
I started reading this one because it appeared in a movie (Notting Hill, I think it was) and got some press from that, and then I heard it was being adapted for the screen. I started it and couldn't get into it, then picked it up again later and ended up loving it. ( )
  jlweiss | Apr 23, 2021 |
This was a book of two halves and the first half I loved; indeed Captain Corelli's Mandolin was lining up to my favourite novel of all time by about half way through. I mean, I don't know if the bit about the German captain so upset to be captured in an embarrassing way that his British captor had to tach him how to play Ludo to cheer him up is a piece of history de Bernieres plucked out to include in his story but if it's not it should be.

So, I was somewhat disappointed to read the second half and find, to my growing disquiet, that I hated it. Absolutely despised it. I have never read a book which has two halves so unlike each other that I'm tempted to believe they were originally two different books inexpertly grafted on to each other like a less amusing The Thing With Two Heads. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Jan 4, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 131 (next | show all)
Just a sumptuous read. It made me cry.
added by Cynfelyn | editThe Guardian, Jon Snow (Nov 19, 1999)
 

» 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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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.

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