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Corelli's Mandolin ()

Vintage Books List of the Best Reading Group Books (14)

The general praise for this novel and the encomiums from friends suggest that perhaps my own negative reaction should be greeted with even greater skepticism than the usual dyspeptic bromide found here.  But the seemingly interminable book requires the reader, once again, to surrender to the belief that peasants were happier than are we and had some special wisdom that we have lost as we've distanced ourselves from nature and the earth.  De Bernieres himself sort of makes fun of this viewpoint when, after the War, a Canadian poet comes to the Greek isle of Cephalonia :

    He was the first in the new vanguard of Western romantic intellectuals with Byronic aspirations, and
    he was looking for a simple house amongst simple people of the earth where he could get to grips
    with the truly gritty realities of life.

Pokes fun, but this seems to be the entire point of the book.  All of the islanders are achingly precious, their lives idyllic, their society charming, but then war comes, well actually, its not even the war, they're still fine when it's just the equally cute Italians, but then the Nazis come, and this wonderful culture is destroyed.

Here's my question though : everyone's always nattering on about how wonderful the lives of agrarian and aboriginal peoples were, how in tune with nature, at one with the land; so how come no one ever wants to be a peasant when they grow up, most especially the peasants themselves ?


Grade: (C)


Louis De Bernieres Links:
-PROFILE: Author Louis de Bernières describes ‘hellish’ prep school ordeal amid private schools row: Author opens up about his experience in the Sixties after MP calls for investigation into ‘rape culture’ at England’s private schools (Roisin O'Connor, 3/31/21, Independent)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Granta's Best of the Young British Novelists: 1993
    -INTERVIEW : Louis de Bernieres (Books on Kensington)
    -BIO & BIBLIO : Louis de Bernieres (Andrew Dickson, What Am I Going to Read)
    -PROFILE : From Chantry to the heights of Hollywood (Tina Heath, From the Evening Star,  March 3, 2001)
    -PROFILE : Louis de Bernières Lying low among the romantic shadows  (Sunday Times of London)
    -READING GROUP GUIDE : Corelli's Mandolin (Random House)
    -ESSAY : Captain Corelli's crisis (SEUMAS MILNE, 7 August 2000, The Age)
    -ESSAY : MAGIC AND REALISM :  The worlds of Louis de Bernieres (JASON ANDERSON, Eye)
    -ESSAY : "Captain Corelli's Mandolin": a true story in the shadow of Louis De Bernieres' 1995 novel
    -ARCHIVES : Corelli's Mandolin (Times of London)
    -ARCHIVES : bernieres (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : bernieres (Mag Portal)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (Natasha Fairweather, Times of London)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Tom Holland, Dec 4, 1998, New Statesman)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin  (David Davidar, The Hindu)
    -ANNOTATED REVIEW : of Corelli's Mandolin (Janice L. Williams, Medical Humanities)
    -REVIEW : of  The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts (Susan Lowell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of  The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts (Stephanie Gold, India World)
    -REVIEW : of THE TROUBLESOME OFFSPRING OF CARDINAL GUZMAN By Louis de Bernieres (James Polk, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres (Phoebe-Lou Adams, Atlantic Monthly)
    -BOOK LIST : Greece : If you'd like to delve deeper into the history and culture of Greece, here are some books to consider before you go (USA Today)

    -Official Movie Site
    -INFO : Captain Corelli's Mandolin (IMDB)
    -ESSAY : Retuning Corelli's mandolin : John Madden changed much of the plot in  his film adaptation of Louis de Bernieres's bestseller. He explains why to Jasper Rees (Daily Telegraph)
    -ARTICLE : Captain Corelli fails to strike a chord (Paul Sussman, May 22, 2001, CNN)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Charles Taylor, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Siobhan Grogan, New Music Express)
    -REVIEW : of Captain Corelli's Mandolin (George Perry, BBC)
    -REVIEW : All that's bad in film today : The movie adaptation of Louis de Bernieres's best-selling Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a piece of Americanised schloc (Andrew O'Hagan, Line One)

GENERAL : KEFALONITES around the world!!
    -Kefalloniá (Kefallinía,  Cephalonia) (Rough Guides)
    -ESSAY : FICTORY OR FACTION? ( Paul Dukes, History Today, Sept, 1999)