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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Wartime Love Story!
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...
Published on 16 Sep 2008 by Young Stevie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor editing. Poor ending.
The author earned his characters a degree of pathos from this reader by creating reasonably likable characters and placing them in an interesting dramatic context. However given the historically tragic circumstances it did not require significant imagination to create this feeling . Furthermore the description of the time and place was often laboured and would have...
Published 14 months ago by hamishmoir


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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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A deeply absorbing, entertaining and emotive novel, 7 Jun 2000
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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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Strength needs no excuses, does not have to give reasons.", 1 Sep 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.
DeBernieres is equally adept at contrasting idealistic young love with the institutionalized mindlessness of political passion, the love of the arts and history with the expediencies of political dogma, and one's personal commitments to other individuals with the commitments to ideologies. Realistic at the same time that it is also romantic, the novel conveys the absurdities of politics and places them within the context of real life. The author's exuberant, descriptive style enlivens the present in Greece while also emphasizing the culture of the past, leading the reader to recognize, ultimately, that in all times, wherever one finds wit and humor, one also finds pathos lurking in the background. Mary Whipple
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it is enstilled on my heart and brain:hilarious and tragic, 15 April 2003
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor editing. Poor ending., 26 Sep 2013
The author earned his characters a degree of pathos from this reader by creating reasonably likable characters and placing them in an interesting dramatic context. However given the historically tragic circumstances it did not require significant imagination to create this feeling . Furthermore the description of the time and place was often laboured and would have benefited from substantial editing. However the greatest criticism that I have to make is an ending that disappointed. Having invested time developing the lead protagonists personalities and relationship, it seemed odd for the author to use a plot device whereby the characters acted out of character . It seemed too implausible that the male character's love was not strong enough to overcome his prejudice or error upon his return. A novel which was often slow paced and difficult simply did not have the pay off.
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over Rated, 29 Oct 1999
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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5.0 out of 5 stars "Strength needs no excuses, does not have to give reasons", 17 Oct 2005
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.
DeBernieres is equally adept at contrasting idealistic young love with the institutionalized mindlessness of political passion, the love of the arts and history with the expediencies of political dogma, and one's personal commitments to other individuals with the commitments to ideologies. Realistic at the same time that it is also romantic, the novel conveys the absurdities of politics and places them within the context of real life. The author's exuberant, descriptive style enlivens the present in Greece while also emphasizing the culture of the past, leading the reader to recognize, ultimately, that in all times, wherever one finds wit and humor, one also finds pathos lurking in the background. Mary Whipple
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4.0 out of 5 stars Love in the time of war: heard it all before? Not quite., 7 July 2004
By 
Lina Pio (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
One of the most riveting books that i have ever encountered, it really does combine an elegant and skilled use of the four most poignant emotions: humour, lust, love and tragedy. De Bernieres is able to knit these all together ensuring the strength of each of these emotions that one feels with each of the characters, creating the surprising effect of enabling the reader to feel mysteriously transported to the middle of the action with the larger than life characters. None of the emotions or the first or third person views cancel each other out as they would in any other book which serves as a testament to the strength of De Bernieres writing skills.
Indeed, I found myself laughing out loud at irregular intervals and then the next minute weeping as if I myself were actually going through the many events of the narrative. This is something to be said as I am not usually a very emotionally charged person.
So why then only 4 stars?
Despite all of the above, I have one criticsm and that is towards the end of the novel, indeed after the war, the book starts to feel as if it were written by a completely different author leaving me bemused and feeling a little empty inside. After the war it begins to move with such an an unstoppable speed as opposed to the original sleepy pace of the beginning and middle, by going through what would have originally have seemed like months into actuall decades and generations, so that you almost become lost. The book starts with so many people and gradually as their fates become entwined with each other, the focus on the number of people, in my view, should narrow down to the two main characters of the whole story right after the war. I thought that there was no need for the ending used as it was a little loose and unnecessary. After so much sadness and misery of the war, why does De Bernieres continue to torture Pelagia, its as if he'd lost interest in her. Yes i know that some may say that way it is a more realistic look of life, but after so much lonely misery, doesn't Pelagia need a break?
I was most impressed by the book's beginning middle and end as i said, more so than the film, yet i still felt that the film's ending had a more fitting and forgiving ending.
He should have cut it short.
Even so, i had to read the whole book, taking four days to read it - may seem long to some, but in the middle of several A level work and heavy A level art homework, its an achievement!
It is the ultimate unputdownable book. Love it or hate it. Simple.
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