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Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `100 stories rolled into one'., 3 Jan. 2010
This review is from: A Partisan's Daughter (Paperback)
It can be crippling for a writer when one of their books becomes a worldwide sensation, and with a read like Captain Corelli's Mandolin it was seen as inevitable, however, after reading A Partisans Daughter it doesn't seem as if he has fallen into this category. This book is not only engaging and captivating but also unexpected.
Looking in hindsight at the first few pages, it's misleading. De Bernières introduction provokes a tonal feeling of sexual deviancy and promiscuity due to his prolific referencing to prostitution. The story starts with Chris, a middle-aged man who is trapped in a burnt out marriage. Chris recounts the story of a friend who has told of his experiences with a prostitute. From here De Bernières moves onto Chris' own `experience'. However, Chris' encounter is far from the stories of his friend. He befriends Roza, a Serbian Partisan's Daughter mistaken to be a prostitute, who, instead of having sex with Chris, takes him on a different journey every time they meet. De Bernières descriptive approach enables the reader to fully engage with the story due to his ability to sparingly flesh-out the story, leaving enough for the reader to apply their own unique subjective imagery. Over a long period of time, and with each visit, Roza tells Chris her life story. However, one is never sure whether Chris is there for the stories or there to see Roza; and as the story progresses, it becomes transparent that Chris isn't sure either.
A Partisan's Daughter is written in the form of memoirs, and interchanges from narrator to narrator. De Bernières personal approach lets the reader make their own decision on the characters, rather than an overt third person narrative that can cause detachment, it feels as if the narrators are talking directly to the reader. A Partisan's Daughter takes you all over the world with different stories relating to different emotions and raising different Eastern European political issues, all from the tiny dilapidated shack the story is set in. It is thanks to this vast scope that enables the novel to captivate such a wide audience, and because of the different worldly scenarios that De Bernières creates, it can relate to many people's own experiences. Because of the love, hate and just the emotions people feel, the book hooks the reader's emotional side and reflects their own feelings letting you see them in a different context through Roza's recollections. However, there is one flaw that is persistent, the inconsistent language from Roza. At some points, the English seems fluent; however, at the beginning of the story her English language seems basic. `Oh, you think I'm bad girl'. If this is noticed early on, it can become irritating.
If someone asked me whether they should read this book, my answer would be yes. Because of the diverse topics and experiences in the story, it doesn't let you get bored. To describe this book into one sentence it would be `100 stories rolled into one'.
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