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Corelli's Mandolin

A Novel
Narrated by: Stephen Lang
Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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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)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful