Captain Corelli's Mandolin Paperback – 5 Apr 2001
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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.
"A wonderful, hypnotic novel of fabulous scope and tremendous iridescent charm." -Joseph Heller "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 "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." -A.S. ByattSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
"There would be time enough to wake, to eat bread sprinkled with oregano, count his flock, and chivvy them to a place of pasture. His life was timeless, he might have been one of his own forebears, and his goats too would do as Cephallonian goats had always done; they would sleep at noon, concealed from the sun on the vertiginous northern slopes of cliffs, and in the evening their plangent bells might be heard even in Ithaca, carrying across the silent air and causing distant villagers to look up, wondering which herd was passing close".
I promise you, there are parts of Greece, even today, where life is still like this - though it's true there are a lot more pick-up trucks around -where the hub of the village is the tiny kafenion, where the menfolk (and it is menfolk) gather and nurse a coffee with a glass of water for hours, often silent, sometimes 'chewing the cud', always watching - there's not much that goes on in a traditional Greek village that they miss!! And de Bernieres captures this with great warmth and love. He's perhaps a little self-conciously erudite at times, but I can forgive him much for transporting me to a Greece I know well and love more.
It is also oceans - light years - incomparably better than the movie.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the story but if he had kept returning like he said someone in the village would have told him so the end was a bit unbelievable, Carlo was my hero in this book and I... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
I have seen the film, visited the island several times and now, reading the book I can picture everything that happens in the real locations. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Owlet Cottage
Loved it characters are captured wonderfully!! What a tale of Greece. It is a love story, about how true love can survive many disasters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eileen Hill
I recently had to re-read this book as research for an essay - a very agreeable treat as I'd forgotten how good it was! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kate Hopkins
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is an epic tale set in war-torn Greece. One aspect of the book that may confuse the casual is the use of different perspectives in some of the chapters:... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Andy Norton
I was slightly sceptical about this book having avoided it when it came out because of all the publicity. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Gale