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Captain Corelli's Mandolin Paperback – 7 Jan 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (7 Jan. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099288028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429296
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.3 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892,286 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.

Review

"Brims with all the grand topics of literature -- love and death, heroism and skull-duggery, humor and pathos, not to mention art and religion...A good old-fashioned novel."--"Washington Post Book World" "An exuberant mixture of history and romance, written with a wit that is incandescent"--"Los Angeles Times Book Review" "Stunning...A high-spirited historical romance...Remarkable."--"The New York Times Book Review" "His novel will give pleasure to all sorts of readers. It is also so good that it will last."--A.S. Byatt writing in "Evening Standard""Captain Corelli's Mandolin is an emotional, funny, stunning novel which swings with wide smoothness between joy and bleakness, personal lives and history...it's lyrical and angry, satirical and earnest."--"Observer""A wonderful, hypnotic novel of fabulous scope and tremendous iridescent charm."--Joseph Heller "It is funny, heartbreaking, and horrifying in its fictional testimony....Captain Corelli's Mandolin, delightful and sad, comic and at the same time nearly unbearable in its portrayal of European darkness during the war, is a tour de force depiction of the triumph of life over evil by one of Europe's great comic writers of our time."--"Booklist""Dazzling....a fabulous book in the tradition of Tolstoy and Dickens....So joyous and heartbreaking, so rich and musical and wise, that reading it is like discovering anew the enchanting power of fiction."--"San Francisco Chronicle" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Young Stevie on 16 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jan. 2002
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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 April 2003
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By janine.creek@ercgroup.com on 29 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
When I was about half way through this book I caught an article on the radio which stated that Captain Correlli's Mandolin is a classic of its time. If I hadn't been told I would never have known!! I found it to be enjoyable, but no more. It is beautifully written, but the characters are somewhat shallow. My recommendation would be to read it, if for no other reason than to see what all the fuss is about, but stop about 50 pages from the end when the plot line completely fails and becomes nothing but cheese! Give it a go. You'll enjoy it but I think you'll also be a little disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alan hargraves on 20 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This will be my second read of this book, like a classic film a classic book can be enjoyed all over again after a period of time. The first time I read this novel I must admit was because the setting was on our favourite Greek island of Kefalonia, a place we started visiting in the very early 80's and are still visiting today. Louis de Bernieres has given the characters a full and three dimensional feel and captured the feel of the true Greek experience in such a masterful way I cannot wait to revisit this book and will be reading again soon - where? On Kefalonia of course.
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