30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Birds Without Wings (Hardcover)
Birds Without Wings explores further many of the themes of Captain Corelli's Mandolin: the many interwinding lives of a small town in peace and war; the frustration of love; the meshing and conflict of different races and cultures. These de Bernieres draws out with the same fluid empathy that characterised CCM, but chooses here to speak through many of the inhabitants - both Christian and Muslim - of the town of Eskibahce, rather than focussing on the destiny of a single family.
Intimate portrayal of the villagers is intermeshed with the events of the wider world - events that the birds without wings cannot fly away and escape. If anything, these are the parts that could have been sacrified to (yet) more character examination, since they're essentially a retelling of history.
De Bernieres is masterfully skillful at both drawing characters and telling their stories with endless variety. Each character is unforgetably detailed and multi-faceted, from the Dog, who lives in tombs on the outskirts of the town and terrifies children by smiling, to the 'Circassian' mistress of the local landowner, who yearns to speak her native Greek, to Abdulhamid Hodja, the wise local imam, and his horse. De Bernieres' mosaic of life is constantly sparkling and enthralling.
If you liked Captain Corelli, this is the extra large helping with chocolate sprinkles.