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A Partisan's Daughter Paperback – 29 Jan 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (29 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099520281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099520283
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A triumph - a finely executed little masterpiece" (Daily Mirror)

"It's a glory...intensely moving...It's a wise and moving novel, perfectly accomplished. It shows that no life is ordinary. It shines fresh light on the nature of love" (Guardian)

"Sublimely funny and moving...by the time I'd finished this sleek little novel I'd laughed out loud numerous times and, eventually, cried. That's as true a testimony to a book's loveliness as I know" (Independent)

"A striking and wise novel, deceptively slight yet emotionally profound" (New Statesman)

"This is a silk stocking of a novel: fragile, light - and yet possessed of surprising tensile strength...making it look this simple is a real art" (The Times)

Book Description

A beautifully wrought and unlikely love story, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award: 'Sublimely funny and moving...by the time I'd finished this sleek little novel I'd laughed out loud numerous times and, eventually, cried.' Independent

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't do justice to this book by reviewing it as I am not qualified. I can only say that I couldn't put it down, and that I was very moved by it. By way of information, I would add that one of the characters, The Bob Dylan Upstairs, is in fact Louis De Bernieres as a young man- who indeed did once work in a garage, and live upstairs in the same house as a Partisan's Daughter who told stories. Knowing this as I read, the book became so much more important and relevant to me. I loved and pitied Roza, I empathised with Chris, and I think I was like the BDU once.

A Partisan's Daughter left me deep in thought and ever since putting it down everything else has seemed dull. I would certainly recommend it, but a book is a very personal thing to experience and therefore I offer my opinion only; no critical analysis of style or prose.

Oh, and I only had to reach for the dictionary twice!
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By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is dificult to categorise this one. As with Red Dog[see my recent review] it is neither an epic historical novel per Birds Without Wings and Captain Corelli nor a mythical romp per Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts and The Troublesome Offspring Of Cardinal Guzman. This book is on a much smaller scale , but none the less as enjoyable.
It is like eaves'dropping on an intimate conversation which is really none of our business. Perhaps this intimacy hightens the drama ,humour and urgency to finish the book in one sitting. The lives of the two narrators unfold:The lonely sexually frustrated middle aged man; the young Yugoslav of the title with her roller coaster background of romance, abuse and hurt. Through their conversations we watch their love develop but will it be consumated?
At the end we know who Chris is , but who is The Partisans Daughter?
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Format: Paperback
I used to buy a packet of button-sized biscuits each topped with a tooth-decaying whirl of variously-coloured rock-solid icing sugar, they were called Little Gems and I loved them. Sadly you can't get them anymore but you can get this instead, a little gem by Louis de Bernieres that is just as delicious and leaves you wanting more, which is just how I like them, rather than overly long like so many otherwise excellent novels.

Back in the 70's and mirroring the country's political crisis in his personal circumstances, Chris is a forty-something travelling salesman who has pretty much given up on the likelihood of any more pleasure let alone excitement in his life, which definitely includes sex with his disinterested wife. One evening, for no apparent reason and seemingly quite out of character, he somehow finds himself sub-consciously in kerb-crawling mode and cack-handedly tries to pick up a girl in North London who he mistakenly decides is on the game. That girl is Roza, one-time hostess-come-prostitute (so Chris might be excused his error), Serbian daughter of one of Titos's partisans and currently inhabitant of a derelict property in Archway. Sequentially confused and then amused by Chris's blunder, and subsequently having put Chris right about her current circumstances, Roza nonetheless gets into his car and, in wonderfully direct and east-European English, tells him to take her home, it is, after all, the least he can do. He dutifully and shamefacedly does as ordered, from which encounter blossoms an acquaintance, leading to a deliciously slow-burning friendship leading to a wonderful Arabian-Nights tale of Roza's life and Chris's fall into basic infatuation.
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