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Captain Corelli's Mandolin [Paperback]

Louis de Bernieres
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jan 1999
Following THE TROUBLESOME OFFSPRING OF CARDINAL GUZMAN, a novel set on a Greek island in 1940 about the eternal triangle that develops between a doctor's daughter, her fisherman fiance and a young officer who is billeted in the doctor's house.

Product details

  • Paperback: 534 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (7 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099288028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429296
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Captain Corelli's Mandolin is set 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. Captain 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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"'Louis de Bernieres is in the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh... he has only to look into his world, one senses, for it to rush into reality, colours and touch and taste'" (Evening Standard)

"'An emotional, funny, stunning novel which swings with wide smoothnes s between joy and bleakness, personal lives and history... it's lyrical and angry, satirical and earnest'" (Observer)

"'A master of haunted realism. His best novel yet. He deals with death and love and tragedy...This is a novel to be prized'" (Daily Mail) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a warm, comic romance 6 Jan 2002
By A Customer
one of my favourites of all time, as it is not only hilarious and romantic, but vividly descriptive and horribly tragic, all at the same time. whatever you do, don't watch the film! it's a terrible attempt to recreate the magic of the novel, and fails badly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Wartime Love Story! 16 Sep 2008
This book is a fantastic read that starts toward the end of World War 2 and covers generations.
The tale tells of a young Greek girl and an eccentric Italian Captain finding love during the Italian "occupation" of the Greek island of Cephallonia, although the Italian army hardly treats it as such due to disenchantment with having to fight for reasons & ideals they do not share with their leaders.
The author creates extremely tangible scenes, people & feelings that you're left feeling like you really knew the characters & places.
There are a few strange plot-holes but this in no way detracts from the overall story and I was actually quite gutted that it had to end!
A really good read that everyone will enjoy & appreciate I think.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1995, Captain Corelli's Mandolin follows for sixty years the life of Pelagia and those who love her, beginning in World War II, when she and her father, a doctor on the small Greek island of Cephalonia, first get drawn into the war. Attractive and intelligent, Pelagia thinks herself in love with Mandras, an illiterate Greek fisherman who leaves for war. When the island is overtaken by the ineffectual Italian army, Captain Antonio Corelli is billeted in their small house. Corelli, whose response to "Heil, Hitler" was once "Heil, Puccini," is a musician, a mandolin player, who quickly establishes a singing group (meeting in the company's latrines) in preference to waging war. By the time the wounded Mandras returns, Pelagia and Corelli are in love.
Author deBernieres vividly depicts the various political movements which play out in Cephalonia--the Italian occupation; the German "cleansing" in which the Germans, nearly defeated in Europe, exact revenge on the Italians who have, with a change of government, withdrawn their support; and the later Communist insurgency in Greece and their opposition by fascist partisans. Always connecting these events to the lives of Pelagia, her father, Mandras, and Corelli, the author gracefully depicts the impact of political changes on the lives of ordinary people.
The horrors of the German revenge on the Italians reflect the wartime mentality and contrast with the good feelings various participants have been able to engender on a personal level. With the withdrawal of the Italians and Germans, the horrors of internecine warfare within the Greek community, and the extremes to which partisans, including Mandras, are willing to go are subjected to microscopic views.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Until recently I was studying this novel for my A-level English Lit. exam. It was the only one out of my four 'prescribed' texts that I took full pleasure in reading.
The book,(which moved me to tears TWICE - not something that happens too often),is a skillfully crafted story of love and war and displays the kind of narrative that makes you want to savour every word. It has something for everone really, if you're a romantic read it; if you like history read it; if you like comedy read it, it doesn't matter what kind of person you are - unless your heart is made of stone you cannot fail to be moved.
My one disclaimer is that the ending is slightly disappointing;rushed and not totally convincing, nevertheless you won't regret reading it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and deeply moving. 14 Aug 2002
By A Customer
Thi is one of the best books I have ever read. It is both well written and entertaining. The beginning is quite difficult and long winded and it took two attempts for me to get through it, but it was well worth it. the charecters are believable and interesting. This is not a story for those who like a fairy-tale ending but for those who like something more real and gritty. Do not be put off if you have seen the awful film adaptation as the two really bear no resemblance to one another. This is a rewarding book which will affect both your emotions and opinions in many ways.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but often disturbingly inaccurate 31 Mar 2001
By A Customer
I was very curious about this book and, being Greek, started reading it with much enthusiasm. The love story between Pelagia and Corelli is well narrated and some of the secondary characters are very touching. However, one doesn't need to be a history expert to spot the "historical inaccuracies", to put it very mildly.In my opinion, a basic knowledge of the Greek history and politics of the time sadly reduces the novel into a product of a Cold-War-type propaganda, which was very difficult for me to ignore. If one manages to ignore it or cannot spot it at all, then it can be enjoyable.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
When I finished this book I had a different view on both life and people and I encouraged everyone to read it for its wit, its intense love and its beauty. Im not saying it was life changing but it was thoroughly absorbing: de Bernieres ability to make me laugh and smile against my will and at the same draw copious amounts of tears was remarkable. All the characters are very human and appealing despite their numerous flaws and inevitable tragic fate. It is a touching portrayal of love both, homosexual and heterosexual, and the conflicts within people that arise at times of war. It also proves that love is not merely for the young but also for the old, and that it does often survive. It is not merely a love tale, it is full of history, fighting, comedy and pain and as my english professor repeatedly says it is worth reading because even if you do not find it enjoyable it will increase your vocabulary and knowledge of myth and the war ten fold! I warn you that the first few chapters are difficult but if you persevere you will find it thoroughly rewarding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
very good price and great condition for a used book,
and not to mention a fabulous read
highly recommend- refrain from watching the film alone, since it misses out a huge... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Ella Groves
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
I saw the film adaptation when it first came out, i enjoyed the story, when I read the book (while on holiday on the island) it was so so so much better than the film. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Bertie
5.0 out of 5 stars book as in capt corelli as described and perfect for daughters reading...
as expected.......great thank you for very prompt and efficient response the book will give great pleasure and I am very happy
Published 21 days ago by virginia beardsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Love anything related to Greece and islands
Ifound the ending much more realistic than the film. The writing is excellent and the insight into the feelings of occupiers and the occupied was very moving.
Published 1 month ago by marie morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, warm and interesting - but long
This book is over 500 pages long. I did find it dragged at times and it took me over a month to get through it, which is unusual for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by misty
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a lovely book
After hearing the audio book version, read by Robert Powell (superb but abridged), and seeing the film (such a disappointment) I decided it was time to finally read the book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by magpie
Bought this for my daughter as she is studying it for A Level. Happy with the item, which came promptly.
Published 2 months ago by Ms Mary Scanlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written lovely book
Read this as I was asked to do a section as a wedding reading this summer. Best read BEFORE seeing film as this is MUCH better. Story rather different from film (in emphasis). Read more
Published 3 months ago by jax
5.0 out of 5 stars Captain Corelli's Mandolin
A truly inspiring story, it made me laugh and cry. The writing magical, the description of the characters especially had me spellbound. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amanda-Trimmer Brightman
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth persevering
I was at least a third of the way through this book before I felt the story had me firmly in it's grip. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rebecca
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