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Publisher's Summary

Extravagant, inventive, emotionally sweeping, Corelli's Mandolin is the story of a timeless place that one day wakes up to find itself in the jaws of history. The place is the Greek island of Cephallonia, where gods once dabbled in the affairs of men, and the local saint periodically rises from his sarcophagus to cure the mad. Then the tide of World War II rolls onto the island's shores in the form of the conquering Italian army.

Caught in the occupation are Pelagia, a willful, beautiful young woman, and the two suitors vying for her love:  Mandras, a gentle fisherman turned ruthless guerilla, and the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, a reluctant officer of the Italian garrison on the island. Rich with loyalties and betrayals, and set against a landscape where the factual blends seamlessly with the fantastic, Corelli's Mandolin is a passionate novel as rich in ideas as it is genuinely moving.

©2012 Louis de Bernieres (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Brims with all the grand topics of literature - love and death, heroism and skull-duggery, humor and pathos, not to mention art and religion.... A good old-fashioned novel." (Washington Post Book World)

"An exuberant mixture of history and romance, written with a wit that is incandescent" (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

"Stunning.... A high-spirited historical romance.... Remarkable." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Corelli's Mandolin

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  • Overall
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LOVELY! Moving, hilarious, enlightening...

BEAUTIFUL and often humorous historical novel with a dash of love story. Seeing WWII from a view of Italian soldiers and Greek citizens broadens and deepens my (US American) limited understanding of the war, of the contemporary political ideologies, and the ordinary & extraordinary lives of Greek townspeople. The novel also opens up to readers the Italian & German occupation of Greece, the apparent shift in the Italian military allegiance & the nightmare of atrocities (or so-called Greek civil war) that followed.

The writing is nothing less than poetic elegance. The language is sometimes ironically erudite and sometimes erudite for precision and not at all to ironical effect, but even then, it's not pretentious. Grab a dictionary if context doesn't do it.

The narration is excellent and make the satirical passages all the more hilarious (especially re the Duce!).

Word to the impatient: UNFORTUNATELY, the final chapters felt unnecessarily tortuous to me. The author seems to have been determined to create a tidy "happy endings" type conclusion--to the extent that such a story could dare to end happily. It was difficult to listen from chapter 64 to the end. I felt obliged, then annoyed, and finally disappointed. I wished I stopped at the end of ch 63.

NONETHELESS, the book is too wonderful otherwise. I couldn't put it down. I deeply value the experience.

6 people found this helpful

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Wonderful through and through

I don't have the vocabulary to describe how much I loved and admired this book. The story itself was compelling, but there was so much more. The research that the author had to do to write this book is alone extraordinary. He had to study WWII history, medical diagnoses and treatments, music, and more -- and not just superficially, but in depth. I learned a ton. But what really made this book for me was the characters. He painted exquisite pictures of so many different people, and they were so vivid that I felt I knew them. Even those who were over-the-top, larger-than-life characters came across as entirely believable -- an exceptionally challenging feat for any author. I found myself so absorbed in this gripping story that I often found myself thinking I was witnessing a real-life drama in real time rather than listening to a novel. His life insights were so totally on the mark, and the poignancy so gripping, that I had to summon all my will power to occasionally pause to do other things. Having written a novel myself, by the time I finished "Correlli's Mandolin" I couldn't help but feel "I am not worthy." This is a beautifully written work of art, brilliantly narrated by one who had to master a rich array of accents, voices, intonations, emotions, and personalities.

2 people found this helpful

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I didn’t want it to end!

I thoroughly enjoyed learning the history of Greece. The Italians role in the war and the beautiful love story, I couldn’t stop listening!

2 people found this helpful

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A masterpiece

This has been my favorite book since it was first published. I have read it many times, this was my first time listening to it. It has everything anyone could want from a story - politics, history, wit, tragedy & love. To top it all the prose is exquisite- candy to my ears.
The narrator did a great job.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant and Beautiful

Corelli's Mandolin is one of the best books I've ever read/listened to. It is original and surprising and humorous and tragic and some of the writing is stunningly beautiful. The narration is superb. I love this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Spectacular epic

This story told over several decades is a wonderful tale of love lost and love regained set against the background of wartime and postwar Greece.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing and moving historical fiction!

I have over two hundred books in my Audible library.
This is the best one.
It is informative, fast paced, moving and really beautiful in long stretches.

1 person found this helpful

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There are many types of love

This engaging story is graphically detailed about war, making it rough to get thru at times. Initially I thought it was going to be just a love story, but it's more than that. It's about so much; love, good/evil, music, morality, youth, the aged, beauty, At the end, the author says he tried to be historically accurate, and I think he accomplished this. It was well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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beautiful

one of the best books I've ever read, and i read a lot. read it. listen. do both. i promise that you will not be disappointed.

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a beautiful story set in history

I really loved it. Great story and the reader was excellent. Human faces were given to some of the terrible Nazi atrocities of WWII in Greece.