A Partisan's Daughter
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From the acclaimed author of Corelli’s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings comes an intimate new novel, a love story at once raw and sweetly funny, wry and heartbreakingly sad.
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.
“A wise and moving novel, perfectly accomplished. It shines fresh light on the nature of love...Like Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, A Partisan’s Daughter is a novel about missed opportunities and wrong paths taken, tracing the way in which one false move can alter the history of a life... A glory.” (The Guardian)
“Although Scheherazade may be the most famous damsel ever to delay her fate by spinning out nightly yarns of fantasy and intrigue, Roza, de Bernières’s captivating temptress, is equally gifted in the art of storytelling...A provocative and artful analyst of the human psyche, de Bernières vividly celebrates the tantalizing strength of stories to transform individual lives through their eternal and universal appeal.” (Booklist, starred)
“How do you follow up Corelli’s Mandolin, one of the most successful British novels of all time?...A Partisan’s Daughter, although also revolving around politics, history and romance, is very much a departure. Yet it is a triumph - a finely-executed little masterpiece.” (The Mirror)
What listeners say about A Partisan's Daughter
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- L. Berlyne-Kovler
A Tale of Love and Loneliness
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.
4 people found this helpful
- R. Klein
Not on par with his other books I've read
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
2 people found this helpful
- Sarah Kate
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.