After a History teacher recommended De Bernieres's latest novel to me, I (ashamedly) had heard of neither his name, or his most famous novel, 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'.
I have now been given a taste of De Bernieres's style; 'Notwithstanding' was a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from gut-wrenching depression to rejoicing nostalgia of past times.
For me, the message in this book is not one proclaiming a 'lost' England, never to return, but one which we can draw inspiration from to recreate the society which De Bernieries envisages as the rural ideal, centering on community involvement and a true "love they neighbour" spirit (you'll have to read the book first to find that line not cheesy). I feel eccentricity is England to De Bernieres; and he wrote this novel in order to try to share his childhood experiences with the reader.
Do not read this book in search of Blyton-esque romantic portrayals of innocent childhoods and life without the gory side. This book is, as far as I am concerned, one relating to brute honesty. Think of Jane Austen's 'stab-in-the-back' social commentary as a taster of what is to come...
A to-be classic which was a privilege to read.
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