Read O Bandolim do Capitão Corelli by Louis de Bernières José Vieira de Lima Online


A ilha grega da Cefalónia, aparentemente bendita pelos deuses, vai ser palco, a partir de 1939, de uma série de dramáticos acontecimentos. À ocupação italiana sucede-se a invasão alemã, com o seu cortejo de execuções. Depois de 1945 é a vez de os comunistas imporem a sua lei. E quando, finalmente, a paz parecia ter regressado, o mortífero terramoto de 1953 devastou toda aA ilha grega da Cefalónia, aparentemente bendita pelos deuses, vai ser palco, a partir de 1939, de uma série de dramáticos acontecimentos. À ocupação italiana sucede-se a invasão alemã, com o seu cortejo de execuções. Depois de 1945 é a vez de os comunistas imporem a sua lei. E quando, finalmente, a paz parecia ter regressado, o mortífero terramoto de 1953 devastou toda a ilha. No meio de tantos dramas, como se tecem os destinos individuais? Um amor tão frágil, como o da Pelágia, a bonita grega, e do sedutor capitão Corelli pode resistir? Resiste-se ao ódio, ao medo, à fome, à loucura e à morte? É possível continuar a viver quando nada mais resta para lhes opor senão memórias, um resto de ternura, música – ah! A música de um certo bandolim...?...

Title : O Bandolim do Capitão Corelli
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789724116785
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

O Bandolim do Capitão Corelli Reviews

  • Kevin Ansbro
    2019-03-21 00:25

    “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away.”—Doctor Iannis.Απαπα! Why, oh why did I wait twenty years to read this enchanting novel?Being something of a contrarian, I didn’t succumb to the rampant Corellimania that existed after this novel’s release in 1994. I’m so pleased that I have now righted this wrong.Bernières serves up a Greek wartime love story that is as multi-layered as a Sunday moussaka.Set on the Ionian island of Cephallonia during Italian and German WWII occupation, the book hits the ground running. Before you’ve even sniffed the mezze, Louis conjures up a delightful opening scene in Dr Iannis’s surgery that should have you chuckling out loud before you can say taramasalata!Admittedly, Bernières does go off the rails for a bit, retreating into a one-man word orgy, all too pleased with his own authorial genius. This results in some superfluity in the early chapters.But don't worry, stick with it, fellow bibliophiles; once this frippery subsides, the main players are introduced and the story gathers momentum.Doctor Iannis, and his daughter Pelagia, are the beating heart of a modern fable that even Aesop would have been proud of.We learn about in-the-closet, Italian man-mountain, Carlo Piero Guercio, who was previously sent on a suicide mission to wintry Albania (where beards became stalactites and soldiers purposely shit themselves in order to savour some momentary warmth).Happily, Carlo’s repressed homosexuality, and his unassailable bravery, is written with the nobility it deserves.“I am exploding with the fire of love and there is none to accept it or nourish it.”Apparently, Bernières has done a huge disservice to the memory of the real-life Greek freedom fighters, who fought valiantly against their oppressors; but from a purely artistic standpoint, the timeless futility of war is exemplified within these pages to such a degree that it makes Catch-22 seem a mere Catch-11 in comparison.Reluctant warrior, Captain Antonio Corelli, heads a ragtag troop of Italian soldiers who march into Cephallonia pulling funny faces and blowing kisses at senorinas.You might be pleased to know that despite a copious infusion of delightful humour, the stark horrors of war are not expunged.There is a passage, approaching the last part of the book, that is so lion-hearted, so profoundly sad, and so utterly moving that I had to put the book down to allow my emotion to subside.The populace, and the soldiers themselves, are starving, but between the rocks of such hardship, fragile love affairs begin to blossom. And, as in all good love stories, there is a great deal of sacrifice and heartache to be found. One such example is that heroic Carlo secretly harbours a profound amore for Captain Corelli which, lamentably, has to remain unsaid.By the end of this sweeping epic I have a feeling that most of you will have grown to love Carlo, Antonio, Iannis and Pelagia too.Such was my excitement in the reading of this book I of course began smashing plates on the kitchen floor, shouting “Opa!”God, it truly was a great read, and fully deserving of all five stars!

  • Pat
    2019-03-31 23:19

    This is two books. The first half is without doubt one of the best novels I have ever read. The writing (even in translation) is lyrical; clearly, every word was carefully chosen. The characters are exquisitely drawn with humor and humanity. The plot, centering on the Italian invasion of a remote Greek island in WWII, is a wonderfully engaging love story. It flows amiably along to a logical and satisfying, if not quite "happy," ending.Unfortuntely, things don't stop there. The second half of the book is drek. One gets the feeling that de Bernieres presented his publishers with a perfect novella and was told "make it longer" or, perhaps, "but you have to finish the story." Whatever the cause, the change in pace, use of language, and sheer thoughtfulness is jarring. It's as if the author completely lost interest in his characters, but felt obliged to carry them to some long-term conclusion.It's a crying shame, because if this book had stopped where it should have, it would be one of the greatest books of the 20th (21st?) century.

  • Cecily
    2019-04-04 02:28

    The ancient Greeks treated tragedy and comedy as separate genres. But this Greek drama is a hybrid. Tragedy on the large and small canvas; comedy from individual characters. Such contrasts can strengthen one's reaction to both extremes, but for me, this particular book might have worked better if de Bernières had focused primarily on one or the other.I see its charm. This is a feelgood book, filled with bucolic delights, entertaining Characters (borderline caricatures and slapstick), and saccharine sun. But they are contrasted with war, loss, and the pragmatics of making do. Humour, love, and music soften the graphically portrayed toll of war and tectonics.Some of the writing is beautiful, and some of it is funny. I was captivated by the opening paragraph and loved the first chapter. But I was bored by the second chapter, and nervous when I started the third. The final, near contemporary, chapters were simultaneously predictable and implausible. It’s as if de Bernières wanted a happy(ish) ending, but not a happy middle, and went to ludicrous lengths to achieve it.That patchy experience, with many different voices, styles, and genres, was repeated throughout: a bitty book, hence a bitty review. Like a visitor to the island, I ambled from beautiful beaches to rocky outcrops, along smooth pavements and disintegrating paths, from mountains to fields, from tourist towns to ancient villages, ever unsure of what I would encounter next. Maybe the rose-tinted hues of sangria would have helped. I think this is probably an objective 4*, but my experience ranged from 2* to 4*, averaging 3*. The Distorting Lenses of History and Ideology“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then again as tragedy.”More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[Cephallonia was settled so long ago that a veil blurs the boundary between myth and history. It is sometimes claimed as the home of Odysseus, and today, the enormous ancient olive trees have an air of “patient omniscience”.The backdrop is a detailed history of the Italian and then German occupation in WW2, including international geopolitics and detailed battle tactics. Not my thing. Fortunately, de Bernières tells the story from local perspectives, as well as that of global victors.Italian soldier, Carlo Guercio, believes history should be “the anecdotes of the little people” (he himself is physically huge). Dr Iannis is little in the grand scheme of things, but a figure of towering importance in his village. He spends many years writing a detailed history of the island, but is frustrated that his own passion makes objectivity impossible, creating “not so much a history as a lament. Or a tirade.” And then history “happens before my very eyes”. Later, his daughter, Pelagia, continues his work, putting her own spin on things.Many characters are deeply conscious of their roots. But the atrocities of war, driven by persuasive demagogues touting totalitarian ideologies (communist and fascist) transform minds, hearts, loyalties, and lives forever.People are separated from their heritage, their future, their families, and even their sanity. If you believe strongly enough in your cause, “Death is not an enemy, but a brother”, whether to embrace for its own sake, or to save others.In the final chapters, capitalism, tourism, and hedonism herald further transformation for those on the island.(hide spoiler)]Love of All Kinds at its Heart“Love delayed is lust augmented.”“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away… But sometimes the petals fall away and the roots have not entwined.”More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[Love is at the heart of this story. It has a big heart, and central to it all is the widowed Doctor Iannis and his daughter Pelagia (seventeen at the start). I loved them both, and their “gentle idyll with its mock contretemps, its tranquil routines, and its congenial eccentricities”.There is young love, old love, a love triangle, parent-child love, love for a stranger’s child, unrequited taboo love, love across other boundaries (“a dark secret that everybody knew”), love for animals (Psipsina, the pine marten, and Pelagia’s goat – shades of Gerald Durrell), love of country, and love of music (opera in the latrine, and the eponymous mandolin). Antonio Corelli is musician more than soldier. He plays his mandolin with “nightingales in his fingers” and “a symphony of expressions was passing over his face”. Pelagia realises music is “an emotion and intellectual Odyssey”. There is a whole chapter where he muses on his instrument being a metaphor for the woman he loves.The hopeful message is that however hard life is, love for someone, or something, makes it bearable - as long as that love is not for excessive food or drink, or for a dangerous ideology.(hide spoiler)]L’Omosessuale“I am mentioned almost nowhere, but where I find myself, I find myself condemned.”More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[Several early chapters explore the inner agony of a man’s secret love for a straight man. These are powerful, painful passages. Later, it felt like more of an occasional, external, but nevertheless crucial plot point. It was just one of the ways the unpredictable variability of style, tone, and content unbalanced me. • “I am a foreigner within my own nation, an alien in my own race. I am as detested as cancer.”• “To me the company of a woman is painful because it reminds me of what I am not.”• “A guilty man wishes only to be understood, because to be understood is to appear to be forgiven… No one knows that I am guilty [gay], and nonetheless I wish to be understood.” (hide spoiler)]The Changing Role of WomenThe story stretches from 1941 to 1993, a period of great social change on the island, especially for women. More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[At the start, the doctor has almost scandalously progressive ideas, so Pelagia is educated, independently minded, and won’t get a dowry. This, at a time when marriage is likely to be “childbirth and relentless work”, with “no freedom until widowhood… when the community would turn against her”. Yet in middle age, Pelagia finds herself disapproving of how Antonia juggles career and motherhood. There is no answer to having it all. (hide spoiler)]Excusing Evil?There’s a chapter titled “The Good Nazi”. More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[It’s easy to label people and events in binary terms, but simplification masks uncomfortable truths. A strength of this book is the conflict created in the reader’s mind by the compassion used when portraying those who commit unspeakable acts. Günter Weber and others are seen, in part, as a victims of circumstance or gullibility, “maddened and broken by his own dutiful atrocities”, or finding redemption through sacrifice. Perhaps this generosity reflects the islanders’ tradition of being “hospitable even to those who do not merit it”. They ridicule, prank, inconvenience, and try to exploit the Italian invaders (the Germans, not so much), wary of being thought collaborators, but mostly coming to mutual, somewhat uneasy acceptance. They grudgingly feed the hand that bites them:“This is Cephallonian meat pie… except that thanks to your people, it doesn’t have any meat in it.” (hide spoiler)]Sesquipedalian VocabularyHow can anyone be “hyperbolically bisexual”?!More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[I love rich and unusual words, but at times, especially in the first quarter, de Bernières was over-generous with his profusion of obscure, and sometimes invented words, mostly via the delightful, multi-lingual doctor: stalagmitic, prestidigitation, effulgent, iatric mystique, eleusinian, iconostasis, stertoriously, corybantic, sternutatory, for example. (hide spoiler)]Satirising a DemagogueA leaflet trashing Mussolini is anonymously written, printed, and distributed on the island. I read it in the final days of the US election of 2016, and finished my review the day Donald J Trump was declared President Elect - a man whose candidacy was first treated as comedy, but now feels more like tragedy:More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[• He “believes his own propaganda”. • Something “is not true, even though everyone who knew Him in those days remembers it perfectly”. • He “diverted funds… for His own election campaign”. • “He has pretended to be a Catholic.” • He gerrymanders, appoints only sycophants, oppresses minorities, and approves of torture. • “He has assumed infallibility and encouraged the people to carry His image in marches, as though He were saint.” • “He agreed completely with the last person he spoke to.” • “Everything in his speeches is contradicted somewhere by another speech.” • But “the speeches of a lunatic are treated as sacred texts”. (hide spoiler)]National(istic) StereotypesThe first batch were mildly amusing and the style was reminiscent of Yes, Prime Minister, for example: (view spoiler)[Hacker: Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?Bernard: Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits. (hide spoiler)].But as they kept coming, they lost their sheen. More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[The well-travelled and well-read doctor opines:“Germany is taking everything, the Italians are playing the fool, the French have run away, the Belgians have been overrun whilst they were looking the other way, the Poles have been charging tanks with cavalry, the Americans have been playing baseball, the British have been drinking tea and adjusting their monocles, the Russians have been sitting on their hands except when voting unanimously to do whatever they are told.”“Italians always act without thinking… A German plans a month in advance what his bowel movements will be… and the British plan everything in retrospect, so it always looks as though everything occurred as they intended. The French plan everything whilst appearing to be having a party, and the Spanish… well, God knows.”An unnamed narrator observes 1953:“Great Britain was less wealthy than it is now, but it was also less complacent, and considerably less useless. It had a sense of humanitarian responsibility and a myth of its own importance that was quixotically true and universally accepted merely because it believed in it… It had not yet acquired the schoolboy habit of for waiting months for permission from Washington before it clambered out of its post-imperial bed, put on its boots, made a sugary cup of tea, and ventured through the door.”And near the end, a teenage boy compares girls:“Italian girls were best, and English girls were useless unless inebriated. German girls were technicians, Spanish girls uncontrollable and melodramatic, and French girls were so vain you had to pretend to be in love with them from the start.” (hide spoiler)]Enchanting Isle - Quotes“An island so immense in antiquity that the very rocks themselves exhale nostalgia and the red earth lies stupefied not only by the sun, but by the impossible weight of memory.”More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[Since ancient times, “the island had been a prodigy of wonders” with “a saint unique to itself, and it was as if his numinous power was too great and too effulgent to be contained within himself.”The Acqui Division “surrendered to its charms, had sunk back into its cushions, closed its eyes and become enclosed in a gentle dream. We forgot to be soldiers.”“Mountains… ringed to infinity by the churning masses of the sea.” (hide spoiler)]Other Quotes“A gibbous moon slid filaments of eerie silver light through the slats of the shutters.”More… (no plot spoilers). (view spoiler)[• “The extreme vestal chastity of this light.”• “Short of words even in his inner speech… a prodigy of slow endurance.” (Alekos, an old goat herd.)• An “anthropomorphised promissory note.” (Father Arsenios.)• “The innumerable smiles of the waves”, by Aeschylus, “who obviously never went to sea in the winter”. • “It is impossible to escape those monsters that devour us from the inner depths.” The only solution is to wrestle with them, or ignore them.• “Symmetry is only a property of dead things” and buildings. “Symmetry is for God, not for us.”• “The Morse code of virgin light glancing after the perpetual motion of the waters.”• “Unravelling wool that had kinked and interwound upon itself in an attempt to resume the knotted configurations of its former state. Pelagia did not understand why wool should be nostalgic in this way.”• “They became lovers in the old-fashioned sense” (chaste, but planning for the future).• “His mouth working wordlessly like an improvident fish that a wave has tossed unsuspectingly on a spit of sand.”• Tanks “perspiring with the inhuman smell of oil and heated steel.”• “A night that was made sepulchral by the attenuated and dancing shadows of trees and men that were cast out by the leaping orange pyres.”• “The ancient olive… made obeisance to the ground and split cleanly… before springing upright and shaking its branches like a palsied Nazarene.”• “I am my own ghost… I have been eaten up like bread… All my happiness was smoke.”• “A man who smelled of exactly the correct admixture of virility and aftershave.”• “The silent and deserted remains of the little houses that had all the appearance of regret and loneliness.” (hide spoiler)]Why I read thisIn accordance with comment #25: here, I read this and Kevin read Galapagos. Image source for tragedy/comedy masks:["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Fabian
    2019-04-02 05:26

    The presence of--& intrepid sudden breaks from--romantic conventions is what makes "Corelli's Mandolin" (alongside its romantic older brother, book 2 of his Latin American trilogy, the devastating love tale "Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord") one of the MOST ROMANTIC novels of ALL TIME. On par with "Gone With the Wind," & other epics like "Cold Mountain" and "The English Patient," it truly was, to this impressionable-though-selective reader, what's the equivalent of a wondrous trip to Adult Disneyland, where surprises loom ever-near, and whimsy runs amok.But what makes this utterly brilliant is the prose (on top of an unpredictable and thrilling plot). The writer is this supernova de Bernieres (all 4 of his novels at this point are in my Must-Read List). Here, you realize exactly WHY you read. WHY people bother to write--if you are Louis De Bernieres you simply cannot not keep producing. The gift is almost mythical, and you are compelled to feel that the auteur has had the TIME of his LIFE writing this, writing and falling head-over-heels in love with his creation which, indeed, depicts LOVE and is, itself, wholly a product of love--the love of beautiful prose.In "Corelli", the tricks and poetics already explored in the often-lauded Latin American trilogy, collaborate once more to make a solid work of art. As is customary, just as this tale takes one of its manifold dark turns, when times in the Greek island are dire, desperate and almost-hopeless, the titular character appears & drives the darkness away. This, as if a gift from the Greek gods themselves. Or the gift from a master to his drooling spectator.This, his fourth (amazing!!!) concoction, puts in evidence the fact that not ALL magic realism belongs to sir Garcia Marquez. Louis de Bernieres' brand is all his own: humorous, unpredictably playful and savagely biting. The effect lasts outside of the book; the novel is a rotund success. My favorite of Louis de Bernieres (so far).I devoured Corelli's Mandolin like some bon vivant living in the 20th century. Like a character in one of his novels, in fact. I became for a full two days, a blissful accomplice, just grateful to be nothing but a hoodwinked voyeur.

  • Justin Hudnall
    2019-04-16 01:48

    De Bernieres style falls between Vonnegut and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and if that doesn't make your head spin and pants feel hot then I don't know what will. It's ridiculously European, in every good sense of the word. It's an epic romance for nihilists and atheists.The only two horrors come from the realization that the book is now out of print, and that it was already filmed with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. Satan's hand is everywhere unseen...

  • Kristen
    2019-04-14 04:31

    This is the first time I've ever given a book one star...I actually feel sort of bad doing it. Despite it being well-written, it's pacing was terrible, and I really had to fight to get through it. And then the ending -- oh the ending. After trudging through nearly 600 pages, the ending was about the most unsatisying I have ever read. I literally threw the book against the wall when I was done. And some idiot decided to make a movie out of it, with Nic Cage as Corelli? I can only imagine how awful it must have been.

  • Asghar Abbas
    2019-03-26 01:32

    Lyrical. Took my breath away and broke my heart. Greece. War. Decency of soldiers. Indecency of war. Monsters. Humans. Where. Cats. Young girl's bed. Old woman's dream. Ending. And of course the Mandolin. Did I mention, Greece ? It is never too late. Love may get ole but if it is real then it's never forgotten nor forgiven. It can survive a war, it did and it survived them, in spite of each other. It survived the shuffle in the company of humans .

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-04-18 05:35

    Stunning. Mesmerizing. Remarkable. Beautiful, beautiful love story. I just scanned the 121 books that I've already read belonging to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and there seem to be not too many books that could be considered as predominantly love stories. There is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but we all knew about it even before actually reading the book so there was no element of surprise. There is Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart but it has fantasy interwoven in the story like people disappearing in trees, people being transformed while riding a ferris wheel, etc. so it is not a straightforward pure honest love story. Also Sputnik fell out from the list in its 2010 version.Set in the beautiful island of Cephallonia (now Kefalonia) in Greece during World War II, Louis de Bernieres' (British, born 1954) Captain Corelli's Mandolin, first published in 1993, sizzles with love, music and honesty. Love here is not just the usual erotic love between a man and a woman. The main protagonist, the beautiful Pelagia is in love with the handsome gentleman, Mandras who joins the Greek guerilla. Then Pelagia meets the mandolin-playing Italian captain, Corelli and falls love for him too. Theirs is a forbidden love since Pelagia is still betrothed to Mandras and Corelli is an Italian whose country is at war with Greece and the Allies. Although living in the same house, they choose not to make love so as not to complicate the situation. When they say their dreams they are always prefixed with "After the war...". Love so painfully forbidden yet so pure and honest. Right love in a wrong place and time.The other love is fatherly love between Pelagia and her doctor-father, Dr. Iannis. Theirs is a nurturing love based on respect and trust. There is a scene where Dr. Iannis is telling Pelagia that he sees the love blossoming between Pelagia and Corelli. He does not condone it. He just gives the consequences of continuing that love. Pelagia takes it maturely. When the time comes that my own daughter falls in love with a man, I hope I'll have the same fortitude and maturity that Dr. Iannis has in that scene. Powerful.The last significant love that this novel includes is the homosexual heroic love that Carlo, one of the Greek soldiers, has to his fellow but subordinate soldier, Francesco. Carlo keeps his love within himself (they are in the Army so that kind of love is taboo). When the latter dies, Carlo is devastated because he failed to save him. Then Carlo meets Corelli who is his superior. This time he shields his body that spared Corelli's life during the Aqui Massacre (September 1943) when German soldiers killed by open fire 400,000+ Italian soldiers. This was the time when Germany was about to lose the war to Allies and they went into killing sprees everywhere in Europe. That historical scene is depicted in details in this book that you will surely feel numbed to read another gigantic monstrosity the Germans did during WWII. I spent 4 days reading this 436-page book. It's an easy read and I could have normally finished this in 2-3 days but Bernieres' prose is so delectable that I decided to savor each word closing the book every now and then and imagine myself in that island, hearing the music of mandolin and seeing the face of the sumptuous Penelope Cruz (who played the role of Pelagia in the 2001 film based on this book).I have the pirated copy of that film. Many years ago, when I tried viewing it, I stopped after 5-10 minutes. It was boring. Now that I've read and liked the book, I should dig my cabinets and give it another chance. I just think that the balding Nicholas Cage was a miscast as Corelli. BTW, De Bernières strongly disapproved of the film version, commenting, "It would be impossible for a parent to be happy about its baby's ears being put on backwards." He does however state that it has redeeming qualities, and particularly likes the soundtrack.My lawyer-brother says that the books belonging to 501 Must Read Books (yes that's another list and this book is in there too) are those that are controversial and not necessarily well-written. After this book's publication in 1993, the island of Kefalonia became one of the island tourist destinations in Greece. Also, obviously, this is well-written and as it also landed #19 (among 200 listed) in Big Read, the 2004 survey done in UK where people voted for their favorite novels.Maybe writing about Alabat island, where I grew up, in Quezon will not be a bad idea. Oh maybe someday.

  • Wendy
    2019-03-31 02:44

    Captain Corelli's Mandolin has, unfortunately, become victim to it's own success. It has become one of those books that anyone who is anyone has read and so nobody now wants to read for fear of being a fashion victim. It even features in Notting Hill, Hugh Grant is reading it at the very end of the film when he and Julia Roberts are sitting in the garden. However, don't let this put you off - it's a brilliant book.The story, briefly, is a typical love story.During the 2nd World War, the inhabitants of a small greek island, Cephalonia, have their lives disturbed by the arrival of an invading Italian army. The main characters we are concerned with are the local doctor, Iannis, and his daughter, Pelagia, they are forced to billet the commander of the Italian army, Captain Antonio Corelli, in their home. The islanders do everything they can to make life difficult for the Italians, forming a quiet sort of resistance group, and Pelagia does her bit by making life uncomfortable for Captain Corelli. Despite their natural resistance to an invader, Dr Iannis finds a kindred spirit in Corelli and they develop a mutual respect. Iannis is a poet at heart, he is working on a History of Cephallonia and Corelli too is a natural poet. Corelli is naturally averse to a life in the army, he is a musician (playing the mandolin of the title) who wants nothing more from life than to play and write music. He is not a natural military leader, preferring to organise his men to sing opera than to set patrols, but he gains their respect through his strong character.We don't meet Corelli till half way through the book but he is instantly likeable and the electricity between him and Pelagia can't be missed.What is it about this book that makes it so brilliant? The odd-ball characters, like the strongman Megalo Velisarios or Father Arsenios the overweight priest?;is it the wonderful descriptions of the Greek Island of Cephalonia?; is it the love/hate relationship between Corelli and Pelagia?Louis de Bernieres has a wonderful style of writing, interspersing the main thread of the story with what seem at first sight to be unconnected anecdotes. In this book these anecdotes centre around Prime Minister Metaxas of Greece, Mussolini and a soldier named Guercio amongst Saints and madmen!These sidetrackings initially deterred my mum from reading this book - after I had read it and raved to her that she "had to read it" but if you take them at face value, eventually you begin to see their significance to the story. It's a bit like life, I guess, no one story exists in isolation, de Bernieres seems to say, everything is influenced by what has happened in the past or what is happening elsewhere in the world. "No man is an island" John Donne said, and even on the island of Cepphalonia, where things seem not to have changed since the time of St Gerasimos, the outside world encroaches and people are effected by the events outside their own sphere of existence.Read this book and you will be caught up by the story of Corelli and Pelagia and you will feel the warm Greek sun on your face. However I'm sure you will never imagine Nicholas Cage as Captain Corelli.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2019-03-28 22:44

    Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.I've had this book for years after accidentally stealing it from College (we were asked to pick two books on a table to take home over the Summer to read and I chose this and Catch-22, but when I returned the following term I was in a different class and simply forgot, about half a dozen times, to return them and subsequently have had it since) and have finally gotten around to reading it after starting and stopping it a few times.It is kind of a story of two halves, one concerning the Second World War occupation of the Greek island of Cephallonia and the other concerning the inhabitants of said island as they deal with the war, love and attempts at writing Greek histories.It is sublimely written in places: there were times when I was completely lost in the prose, especially when Beriniéres wrote about love in exactly the way I feel about it and not many authors have ever been able to convey before:“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”But then there were times when it was just dull and uninviting and I felt like it had dived too hard to the bottom of the ocean and it didn't seem like it would ever rise to the surface again. It was an odd journey to go on, not only as we follow the plot and the various love interests of the characters, but how the writing could go from the sublime to the rather ordinary.It is a beautiful book, but it was just let down by trying to be far superior with every single word, instead of having its moments and being satisfied with that. Definitely one to pick up and, if you do, really try to stick with it through to the end because it will touch your soul, but you have to work for it.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2019-03-21 03:37

    Would you think less of me if I said I loved this book? Will you defriend me and publicly mock me if I said it made me cry a little bit? Anyway as I stand over the shadow of my former self and see my fearsome blue monkey avatar in a crumpled heap like a soggy tear covered kleenex I stand by what I say. Seriously, I'm not an overly emotional person but I loved this. Maybe I loved it because really this story is not a story with a happy ending. This book symbolises the waste of time, the waste of life and love and a missed opportunity for happiness which can be created by one decision or chance event. Maybe that's all life is... a series of missed chances. Did you take your chance when you saw it coming?

  • Velvetink
    2019-03-24 22:40

    Running throughout the novel is a Homeric theme which I really liked. Imbued with a mythic weight and a delightful tragicomic lightness, Louis de Bernieres' Corelli's Mandolin bursts with tenderness and wit. Corelli's Mandolin is not in the least a simple love story. It is a portrait of a fiercely proud and independent little community rebelling in what small ways it can. It is a snapshot of the horrors endured by the men in combat during the Second World War. It is a damning commentary on the grandiose lack of sense among the leaders who would mold the world to fit their petty desires. It is a witty, charming, intelligent tale that possesses the reader to finish without stopping. It is a tragic story of star-crossed lovers given one more chance at happiness after a lifetime of loss, and it is worth every moment you spend turning its pages. While I love history and historical novels somewhere in the middle of the book I got slightly irate getting though sections of descriptions of war maneuvers when I really wanted to know more about other characters. Still by the end I was grateful to Bernieres for the history of which I discovered I knew so little.

  • Esteban del Mal
    2019-03-26 02:42

    This is Benito Mussolini, one-time Fascist dictator of Italy and streetlight ornament of the same:And this is Mussolini talking.Unless you understand Italian, you have no idea what he's saying. But I bet, even without the historical context, you understand that he's a major asshole. Just look at the body language.In a way, Louis de Bernières is a lot like that, a little in love with himself. His authorial blurb tells of his many manly adventures. He holds an advanced degree, but is desperate to come off as some sort of blue collar polymath. His novel suffers from it; just as Mussolini put on a façade to impress, so does de Bernières. At times, the first 150 pages read like a guy going through a thesaurus. The dialogue is solid, but he gets carried away with the narration. He flirts with magical realism, and does so in a manner more effective than most. I would provide an example, but I donated my copy to the local library.One also gets the sense that he favors the equatorial lifestyle to the exclusion of all others. I have no problem with this (I, myself, prefer said lifestyle), but always casting the natives and Italians in a favorable light and never the Germans? It comes off a bit tidy. Maybe it helps move a love story that takes place during WWII from point to point. The ending is just about the most unsatisfying thing I have ever read.

  • Mercedes
    2019-04-08 03:47

    This book is spectacular. There were whole sections that I read over and over because they were so beautifully written and even one particular chapter that I made my whole family read - and even though none of them are readers they all thought it was fantastic!! I can honestly say I have never read a book that could move between genres so easily, with comedey and tragedy completely interwoven. Read it Read it!!!

  • Laysee
    2019-03-29 03:44

    “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides… That is just being ‘in love’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident” – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de BernieresTake an idyllic Greek island that “smells of pines, warm earth, and the dark sea” where its hardworking inhabitants eke out a quiet living. Throw in a lonely mountain goatherd, a wise and kindly doctor, and his beautiful but willful daughter. Add a mandolin-playing Italian Captain (as suggested by the title) and the story promises music and romance. The stage seems set for a charming, bucolic story because Louis de Bernieres introduced Cephallonia as a place “where vicious emotions could not exist”. Wrong. Corelli's Mandolin tells a devastating WWII story of Cephallonia being pillaged and despoiled during the occupation by, first the Italian, then the German armies, and finally their own guerilla fighters. War stories are extremely painful to read and this one is equally horrific in its depiction of brutality and wartime atrocities. Yet this story shines in many ways. It is a moving insider perspective of war (a mix of first- and third-person narratives) as reported by the soldiers who are compelled by duty, against their will, to be party to the official conspiracies propagated by paranoid dictators. Soldiers, like Carlo Guercio, come to realize with deep shock and revulsion there is no reasonable excuse for the cause they are fighting. It is also remarkable how enemies become friends when they recognize the human impulses, motivation, and fears they share in common. It is marvelous to read about the islanders' grudging acceptance giving way to affection for the Italian invaders. De Bernieres created a cast of wonderful characters in this novel. Dr. Iannis is the sweet and kind doctor one would love to have as a father. Carlo Guercio, the gay thespian, deserves to be celebrated for the magnanimity of his love for his comrades in arms. Captain Corelli, more a musician than a soldier, has an irresistible and irreverent personality. He forms a latrine opera club among his men, which endeared him to me. Pelagia, the attractive village lass and apple of every soldier’s eye, is much more than just a pretty face. Evil befalls each of these characters and I kept reading and hoping they would be spared.Of course, there is the romance between Captain Corelli and Pelagia. Ironically, it is the war that first installs Corelli in Dr. Iannis’s house as a billeted captain who eventually falls in love with Pelagia. It is also the war that eventually separates them. It is sweetly told (embarrassingly in part) but mostly delightful.Read Corelli's Mandolin. It is a beautiful story where the horrors of war threaten but cannot deplete the wellspring of love, courage, and goodness that keeps us human.Thank you, Kevin Ansbro, for the book recommendation. It has, as you rightly pointed out, "humour, pathos, and depth".

  • Manny
    2019-03-19 04:33

    They meet, they fall in love, and then they don't see each other for thirty years until they are magically reunited and realize they were intended to spend their whole lives together but somehow misread the instructions on the box. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

  • Book Concierge
    2019-04-09 04:23

    What a beautifully written book! I wept; I laughed out loud; I was furious; I was anxious and worried; I gasped in horror; I smiled secret smiles; I rejoiced; I LOVED. All the characters, even the minor ones, come to life. I did think a few chapters could have been edited, as they didn't serve the plot (but DID provide background history of WW II), and I found the ending unsatisfactory. But still, after borrowing it from the library I RAN out and bought it - High praise indeed. I read it first in March 2001, and then recommended it to one of my book clubs and re-read it in Oct 2001. BTW - The movie was absolutely horrible. Forget the movie! READ the book!

  • Beth Bonini
    2019-04-01 06:38

    I first read this book in 1994, not long after my first daughter was born. It was that book that everyone seemed to be reading - and deservedly so, because it is as rich, detailed, panoramic and insightful as any of the great classics. I reread it this week because I was visiting Kefalonia (or Cephallonia) - the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Kefalonia in the summer of 2017 is an idyllic place: peaceful, clean, sparsely populated, and graced with the clearest, bluest water I've ever seen. It is hard to imagine the island as a crossroads for various invaders (Venetian and Turkish being the primary ones); it is even more difficult to imagine it as the scene of bloody atrocities during World War II as described in this book. The book begins with the self-taught Dr Iannis performing a slightly ludicrous surgery - he is extracting an ancient pea from an old man's eardrum - and working on his history of the island. The new History of Cephallonia is proving to be a difficult project because Dr. Iannis cannot seem to write it without "the intrusion of his own feelings and prejudices." "This island betrays its own people in the mere act of existing," Dr. Iannis writes, at the historical moment when Greece is about to be invaded by Italy and dragged unwillingly into the war. There are many voices in this book - it is written from the viewpoint of multiple perspectives, including that of The Duce (Mussolini) - but the voice of Dr Iannis is the closest we get to a broader authorial perspective. Ironic, excoriating, tender in turn, the voice of the doctor sets the tone for the book. He diagnoses, not just the human body and its idiosyncrasies and failings, but also the human spirit. Not long ago a friend and I were debating what makes a book an enduring classic . . . what sets it apart from being just a good story for its particular moment in time. We agreed that the great novels all seem to employ a kind of micro/macro strategy. The reader connects to a small set of characters, and their particular dramas are set against a broad sweep of history. The doctor, his beautiful daughter Pelagia and the Italian soldier who is billeted with them give the novel its intimate focus, but in another sense this is a war novel on a grand scale. My daughter (19) also read this book while we were on holiday in Kefalonia, and much of the history it recounts was completely unknown to her. The war, all of the horror and absurdity of it and all of the senseless waste of lives, is still a subject of fresh outrage to her and she raged about the 'stupid pointlessness' of it all. But as with Catch-22 - another great novel about WWII - the narrative sets human stupidity, callousness and folly against acts of true kindness and nobility. At one point, Dr Iannis tries to explain to Captain Corelli that there are two Greeks inside of his daughter (and every Greek person) - not so different from the good and bad angel idea. But so much of what is specifically Greek in nature and culture to this book has a larger truth to it.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-22 00:37

    This is a meaty, sweeping, witty, and romantic story about one of the more literarily-neglected corners of World War II, the involvement of Italy and Greece and the occupation by the former of the latter.The action centers on the Greek island of Cephalonia, where the village doctor, Iannis, tends to the ailments of the locals and raises his beautiful and intelligent daughter, Pelagia. Pelagia's bethrothed, Mandras, disappears into the war, and when he returns, Pelagia no longer loves him, so he departs again, this time to take up with the Greek Communist resistance, where the brutality of his comrades changes him forever. Meanwhile, an Italian regiment imposes a benevolent occupation in Cephalonia, with their charming Captain, a mandolin player and composer, quartered in the doctor's home. Love, of course, blooms, but the realities of war, politics, and even natural disasters mean that the course of love will not run smooth, and not everyone will emerge unscathed.The storytelling moves with agility from one perspective to another, including an interior monologue of Mussolini's, soldiers' diaries and letters, pamphlets, and Iannis' life's work of a very opinionated and personal history book. The settings are brilliantly described, the horrors of war and terror not whitewashed, yet the story has an overall feeling of goodness and romantic glow about it. But it's not sappy, either. There is plenty of good sharp wit and eroticism to keep things moving.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-27 06:47

    Unlike the movie, this book is a savory treasure. I've read several books by Bernieres and Corelli's Mandolin is one my favorites. The author has one of those bizarre scattered minds that makes following his plots similar to a carnival fun ride. You never know what is going to happen next. Bernieres's also written a crazy book that takes place in the Andes where this tribe takes peyote or some such drug and they start wandering all over the moutains and have wild dreams. The book begins with a parody of Mussolini that is spot on--I laughed out loud. The rest of the book is the story of Italian soldiers occupying a small Greek island during WWII. The soldiers bond with their fellow Germans until Mussolini switches sides and suddenly they've got to put down their wine and bruscetta to have a quick battle. In between there is a great love story between Captain Corelli and the female protagonist that is slated to marry and illiterate fisherman. I went to the opening night of the movie and it was so terrible I nearly cried. Please don't see the movie if you can help it. Nicholas Cage's accent makes you cringe every time he opens his mouth.

  • Matthew Klobucher
    2019-04-14 23:31

    This apparently little-known book is a jewel. Written with passion and incandescant humor, the novel recreates WWII-era Greece (and to a certain extent, the rest of Fascist-occupied Europe at that time) with striking beauty. The characters are unforgettable and nearly all likeable; raw pathos, tragedy, comedy, and romance are fused into one gripping narrative that defies classification. It is, if anything, an effective composition of high Romance and a coming-of-age story: two classic stories in one. But it never takes itself seriously. The story is remarkably erudite, also: historical data is incorporated seamlessly into the story, and the many classic and contemporary references are treated with the same delight as the meat of the story itself. The overall impression of the book is that of a touching, highly entertaining story written by one with a deep love of the people and places.Corelli's Mandolin: A Novel is among my highest-recommended book.

  • Jason
    2019-04-02 01:49

    easily one of the best books i've ever good, i'm reading it again, even though i just did...horrifying, yet beautiful in the extreme...a brutally honest exploration into the notions of allegiance, loyalty, and the twisting emotional complexity of the forces that can either tie us together or force us the face of betrayal and broken allegiances, corelli's mandolin, like corelli himself, is a force that continually works to pull and tie people bernieres has created a world i am seriously desperate to remain in...i want to go out and get the movie, i want to listen to the soundtrack of the film over and over, i want to re-read the entire book over again from the beginning, i want to go and buy a mandolin...i want to book the next flight to greece and spend the next year searching for carlo's grave and drosoula's taverna...i can't remember the last time a book has moved me so has also given me the term 'xenitia' which greeks use to describe the crippling homesickness they experience whenever they leave greece...i suffer from a variation of this affliction in being separated for so long, almost 6 years, from my own homeland of san francisco...

  • Maya Panika
    2019-04-08 03:19

    When I was living in Cuba, books in English were a precious commodity amongst the expat community. You read them, you passed them on - when you went home, you left them behind for those who would come after you. An American artist - one of many that passed through our lives - left me her doggy, much-read copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, exhorting me to read it; it was `incredible, unbelievable, the greatest book she'd ever read'. I had three attempts at it but never made it past page 30. It found it much too wordy, overblown, overwritten, annoying. Two years later and I saw it again, the same edition with the blue and cream cover, half-price in WH Smiths at Manchester Piccadilly station. I was off to a friend's for the weekend and bought it to read on the train. I got about forty pages in before I abandoned it again. I left that copy with my friend, who's never managed to get through it either.A few more years passed and I saw it in a jumble sale, the spine unbroken, apparently unread. It sat on my shelf until a couple of weeks ago when I heard Louis de Bernieres on Midweek, with Libby Purvis and my thoughts strayed to my still un-read copy. This time I was determined, whatever it took, to see it through to the bitter end. I still struggled through the first chapters; they are overwritten; tediously wordy - never use one word where you can cram in a paragraph of adverbs. Everything changes on page 57. Carlo is the best of this novel. From the moment he enters the story with his heartbreaking, impossible love for Francesco, it's like calming, fragrant oils have been poured on the story's choppy waters; the style settles and a plot suddenly emerges.Corelli is a magnificent creation; the Italians in general lift the thing and send it spinning like a master pizza maker with his dough. For the entire central section of the book, I was enthralled (though I have to add, I thought Mandras was a cruelly mistreated character, Pelagia was a cow where he was concerned. My heart truly bled for him and his fate).You could have cut the entire last third; Once Corelli leaves and the Germans take over, it's a picture left out in the rain; all the colour and life drained away and - I know it's describing a dire time of cruelty and hardship but that's not why it falls down here, I honestly think the author lost interest once his beloved Italians were out of the picture. The rest is just a downwards roll to the finale. It could all have been broken down to a chapter or two and the book would have been greatly enhanced by that because it seems to me that LdB had pretty much lost the will to live by then.And then we reach the ending which was pants. Such a disappointment; improbable, out of character in my opinion. A huge anticlimax. To summarise, it's a book of three parts; the beginning is annoyingly wordy, the ending disappointing and dull. Well worth the trouble of reading for the middle, which is joyous, beautiful, wonderful.In short, nowhere near as bad as I'd feared, but nowhere near as good as it had the potential to be.

  • Suzanne
    2019-03-31 03:27

    This was a very unique story both in style and language. There was a quirky type of wordiness and humor that was slowly seductive if the reader could be receptive and willing to go for the ride.The story begins in 1940 in Ceppalonia Greece, a small island described by Dr. Iannis as being full of magic and light. The first few chapters are written in the first person and are a kind of preamble to the plot. The viewpoints are Italian and Greek and are written from the point of view of an Italian closeted homosexual soldier, Benito Mussolini the Fascist dictator, Dr. Iannis the Greek doctor, and the Greek priest. The Italians are planning to invade Italy and attempt to make it look like the attack was provoked by the British.Ultimately they are successful and the Italians occupy the island along with some German allies. The Captain in command, Antonio Correlli, is a musician at heart. He usurps the home of Dr. Iannis as his headquarters and gradually falls in love with Pelagia, the doctor's daughter and only child. Their love story forms the main plot but their are several subplots that engage the reader and blend together to form a type of crazy quilt, one that works even though, at first glance, seem not to quite match up. More than once I wondered where the author was going with this plotline....only to discover that I just needed to have faith. It all worked. What is special is the language and the style. The words are poetic and descriptive and the style sings..clearly the author's intention. Although this is a love story there are brutally descriptive passages on war, cruelty and death that are among the most guesome I have ever read. Yet there is this underlying magic...One of my favorite quotations is this advice the widowed Dr. Iannis gives to his daughter: "When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then it subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day......Love itself is what's left over, when being in love has burned away"

  • Sharyl
    2019-04-02 22:29

    It took me quite awhile to finish this unusual novel, not because it failed to hold my interest, but because it felt so strange to be reading a story about an old catastrophe while living through brand new interesting times...the daily news has been most distracting. Corelli's Mandolin is a WWII novel set on the Greek island of Cephallonia, during the Italian occupation. Louis de Bernieres weaves history and local folklore together in this touching story that centers around Pelagia, a young Greek woman who falls in love with Captain Corelli, a member of the occupying army. Though these two characters are the novel's focus, there are many other engaging, charming, and tragic characters, and I cared about all of them. I'm always impressed when an author makes me feel compassion for characters who turn bad, and de Bernieres achieved that at least once in this story. Pelagia's father, Dr. Iannis, is a fascinating character, and the wisdom he passes on to his daughter are among the most profound words I've ever read in a novel. The ending was not what I expected, and did not seem realistic, but then, it's not supposed to be. I interpret it as statement about what was taken from people who didn't get to live the lives they should have had. I loved the way Pelagia gets to reminiscence at the end, remembering Carlos, Velisarios, Lemoni, Psipsini, and Drosoula...because as her father once said, when loved ones die, you have to live on their behalf...Bravo! Thank you, Kevin, for the recommendation.

  • Judy
    2019-04-01 23:25

    I believe this book will be one of my favorite reads of 2013. Even though I felt that the story waned the last 25% or so of the book, I found it to be an excellent read. The book gives the perspective of World War II from the Greek Island of Cephallonia. The characters are vivid, lively and entertaining. The light humor keeps the story moving all the while educating the reader about Cephallonian culture.I was engaged from the first chapter when Dr. Iannis removes a petrified pea from old man Stamatis's ear! Its not much later that Stematis returns wanting the pea put back in his ear so he will have an excuse to not listen to his wife... Love de Bernieres' characterization. From Psipsima, the marten, Lemoni, a child, Pelagia, the doctor's daughter and Corelli's love interest, Dr. Iannies (he of the pea removal), Carlo,...all are colorful vibrant characters.This book enamored me so much that I will be reading de Bernieres' Birds Without Wings sooner rather than later.4.25 stars

  • Holly Bond
    2019-04-17 02:25

    First off...I don't know why this says the title is "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" when I'm staring at the book and it's clearly "Corelli's Mandolin." The "Captain" was added for the movie, but I can't find a correct link for the purposes of Goodreads.First off, let me state that the movie was terrible, so don't go by that. Give this book a chance! It will make you laugh/cry/sigh/think. It really is in my top 5 books of all time. It was a really beautiful story set against the backdrop of WWII. I love how much it made me laugh. Don't get me wrong, it's not a laugh riot through and through, but what de Bernieres does exceptionally well is make you laugh when you are least expecting to. :) I. Love. This. Book. Is that coming across? ;)Funny story: My friend, Anke, who is German, was in town when the movie came out and we were trying to decide what to go see and she stated that she liked Nicholas Cage, so we opted for that. Well, I am an idiot. I had completely forgotten that this book is not at all kind to the Germans (justifiably). While the movie was awful, it was not made any better by my extreme discomfort at basically bringing up a major blight on my very good and kind friend's national history for two hours. While *those* Germans made bad choices, she had nothing to do with it. I felt awful! :( But, she forgave me, because she's cool like that. :)

  • Stephen Gallup
    2019-03-19 00:38

    The author may have tried to accomplish too much with this story. Like Shakespeare and Melville, he includes passages that could practically stand alone as good advice on living or doing something. There are some high-level summaries of historical developments that perhaps do not belong here, at least in that format. There is a certain amount of technical detail about music that left me behind. He could have just deleted the early chapter on Mussolini. And if I wanted to be picky (I don't) I could point out developments that felt a little contrived. Those are my reservations.But on the other hand we have the depth and appeal of the principal characters, and the author's affectionate and benevolent view (while not failing to acknowledge their human limitations). The story opened my eyes to a region and to events that were new to me, brought a range of heartfelt responses including laughter and tears, and kept me riveted from start to finish. I was sorry to reach the end. This may not be a great novel, but it's very, very, very good -- certainly better in terms of character development than others of a similar genre (say, Doctor Zhivago or Gone With the Wind).

  • Martha
    2019-04-10 22:28

    "Corelli's Mandolin" is, like "The English Patient", a literate historical romance. It also manages to be a highbrow page-turner, with equal doses of wit and pathos to go with the romance.

  • Nat K
    2019-03-29 01:19