He's Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his 40s, he's a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.
She's Roza: Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her 20s but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although she's not a hooker, when she's propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.
Over the next months, Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. She's a fast-talking, wily Scheherazade, saving her own life by telling it to Chris. And he takes in her tales as if they were oxygen in an otherwise airless world. But is Roza telling the truth? Does Chris hear the stories through the filter of his own need? Does it even matter?
This deeply moving novel of their unlikely love, narrated both in the moment and in recollection, each of their voices deftly realized, is also a brilliantly subtle commentary on storytelling: its seductions and powers, and its ultimately unavoidable dangers.
©2008 A Partisan's Daughter; (P)2008 Books on Tape
"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." (The Guardian, UK)
This book tells the tale of Christian, a middle aged salesman who's stuck in a loveless marriage to a woman who barely notices him. He finds companionship in the form of Roza, a young Serbian woman living in a run down London building. She seems to represent to him everything that he is not: worldly, daring, reckless and exotic. As Chris falls in love, their friendship grows by Roza telling him stories that become more and more wild and unbelievable. Sadly, Chris in his naivety fails to realize that Roza is as lonely as him and that their need is mutual.
It is not a tragic novel that will leave you devastated; but it is one to make you think about missed opportunities in life, and about desires that may never fade.
The book lends itself particularly well to audio as it's written in two voices of Chris and Roza (read by two narrators) and the language is simple. I liked it and would recommend it for people who enjoy a thought provoking drama.
I was supremely impressed with Louis de Bernières' writing in Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings. I was left somewhat flat by A Partisan's Daughter. While the previous two books carried me away, thoroughly engaged my imagination, and taught me quite a bit about history, this book never seemed to go anywhere for me. Maybe I expected too much from earlier experiences. Felt like it was little more than a way to pass some time. Unlike the earlier two, when this book was over, I didn't have too much to think about, or contemplate about the story, or about humankind.
A relationship slowly develops between two unlikely people, emotions slowly evolve clouded by unspoken words and unexpressed feelings. I won't reveal the ending, but I found it somewhat unsatisfying
Really enjoyed this. Good story, great narration. It's a good novel for having a nice dose of historical background, and also being one where you really have to consider the characters carefully for their motives and truths.
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