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Corelli's Mandolin

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  62,495 Ratings  ·  2,128 Reviews
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is set in the early days of the second world war, before Benito Mussolini invaded Greece. Dr Iannis practices medicine on the island of Cephalonia, accompanied by his daughter, Pelagia, to whom he imparts much of his healing art. Even when the Italians do invade, life isn’t so bad—at first anyway. The officer in command of the Italian garrison is ...more
Paperback, 437 pages
Published August 29th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1994)
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Rahee Mapara The book is far far better than the movie!! Nicolas Cage does not fit the role at all in my opinion, and the film just can't capture the full story at…moreThe book is far far better than the movie!! Nicolas Cage does not fit the role at all in my opinion, and the film just can't capture the full story at all.(less)
Paul Stevenson The book was originally published (in the UK) as "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". It was released as "Corelli's Mandolin" in the US, but the original…moreThe book was originally published (in the UK) as "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". It was released as "Corelli's Mandolin" in the US, but the original title is not wrong(less)

Community Reviews

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Mar 30, 2008 Pat rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: folks who know where to stop reading
This is two books. The first half is without doubt one of the best novels I have ever read. The writing (even in translation) is lyrical; clearly, every word was carefully chosen. The characters are exquisitely drawn with humor and humanity. The plot, centering on the Italian invasion of a remote Greek island in WWII, is a wonderfully engaging love story. It flows amiably along to a logical and satisfying, if not quite "happy," ending.
Unfortuntely, things don't stop there. The second half of
Justin Hudnall
Apr 08, 2008 Justin Hudnall rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Folks who aren't too cool to love non-sarcastic books.
De Bernieres style falls between Vonnegut and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and if that doesn't make your head spin and pants feel hot then I don't know what will. It's ridiculously European, in every good sense of the word. It's an epic romance for nihilists and atheists.

The only two horrors come from the realization that the book is now out of print, and that it was already filmed with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. Satan's hand is everywhere unseen...
Jul 26, 2012 Kristen rated it did not like it
This is the first time I've ever given a book one star...I actually feel sort of bad doing it. Despite it being well-written, it's pacing was terrible, and I really had to fight to get through it. And then the ending -- oh the ending. After trudging through nearly 600 pages, the ending was about the most unsatisying I have ever read. I literally threw the book against the wall when I was done. And some idiot decided to make a movie out of it, with Nic Cage as Corelli? I can only imagine how awfu ...more
Nov 13, 2016 Cecily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cecily by: Kevin Ansbro

The ancient Greeks treated tragedy and comedy as separate genres. But this Greek drama is a hybrid. Tragedy on the large and small canvas; comedy from individual characters. Such contrasts can strengthen one's reaction to both extremes, but for me, this particular book might have worked better if de Bernières had focused primarily on one or the other.

I see its charm. This is a feelgood book, filled with bucolic delights, entertaining Characters (borderline caricatures and slapstick), and sacchar
Kevin Ansbro

“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away.”
-Doctor Iannis.

Why, oh why did I wait twenty years to read this enchanting novel?

Being something of a contrarian, I didn’t succumb to the rampant Corellimania that existed after this novel’s release in 1994. I’m so pleased that I have now righted this wrong.
Bernières serves up a Greek wartime love story that is as multi-layered as a Sunday moussaka.
Set on the Ionian island of Cephallonia during Italian and German WWII
Oct 02, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing
The presence of--and intrepid sudden breaks from--romantic conventions is what makes "Corelli's Mandolin" (alongside its romantic older brother, book 2 of his Latin American trilogy, the devastating "Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord") one of the MOST ROMANTIC novels of ALL TIME. On par with "Gone With the Wind," and other epics like "Cold Mountain" and "The English Patient," it truly was, to this impressionable-though-selective reader, what's the equivalent of a wondrous trip to Adult Disneyland, wh ...more
Jun 27, 2008 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Captain Corelli's Mandolin has, unfortunately, become victim to it's own success. It has become one of those books that anyone who is anyone has read and so nobody now wants to read for fear of being a fashion victim. It even features in Notting Hill, Hugh Grant is reading it at the very end of the film when he and Julia Roberts are sitting in the garden. However, don't let this put you off - it's a brilliant book.

The story, briefly, is a typical love story.During the 2nd World War, the inhabita
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 08, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010 versions)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501
Stunning. Mesmerizing. Remarkable. Beautiful, beautiful love story. I just scanned the 121 books that I've already read belonging to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and there seem to be not too many books that could be considered as predominantly love stories. There is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but we all knew about it even before actually reading the book so there was no element of surprise. There is Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart but it has fantasy interwoven in the story ...more
May 03, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hopeless romantics and realists
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: a hopeless romantic
Shelves: read-in-2010
Would you think less of me if I said I loved this book? Will you defriend me and publicly mock me if I said it made me cry a little bit? Anyway as I stand over the shadow of my former self and see my fearsome blue monkey avatar in a crumpled heap like a soggy tear covered kleenex I stand by what I say. Seriously, I'm not an overly emotional person but I loved this. Maybe I loved it because really this story is not a story with a happy ending. This book symbolises the waste of time, the waste of ...more
Running throughout the novel is a Homeric theme which I really liked. Imbued with a mythic weight and a delightful tragicomic lightness, Louis de Bernieres' Corelli's Mandolin bursts with tenderness and wit.

Corelli's Mandolin is not in the least a simple love story. It is a portrait of a fiercely proud and independent little community rebelling in what small ways it can. It is a snapshot of the horrors endured by the men in combat during the Second World War. It is a damning commentary on the g
Esteban del Mal
May 02, 2011 Esteban del Mal rated it it was ok
Shelves: novel, fiction, war, donated
This is Benito Mussolini, one-time Fascist dictator of Italy and streetlight ornament of the same:


And this is Mussolini talking.

Unless you understand Italian, you have no idea what he's saying. But I bet, even without the historical context, you understand that he's a major asshole. Just look at the body language.

In a way, Louis de Bernières is a lot like that, a little in love with himself. His authorial blurb tells of his many manly adventures. He holds an advanced degree, but is desperate to
Jo Woolfardis | Infinite Variety Books
Read as part of the Infinite Variety 2016 Reading Challenge based on the BBC's Big Read poll.

I've had this book for years after accidentally stealing it from College (we were asked to pick two books on a table to take home over the Summer to read and I chose this and Catch-22, but when I returned the following term I was in a different class and simply forgot, about half a dozen times, to return them and subsequently have had it since) and have finally gotten around to reading it after starting
Asghar Abbas
Feb 29, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing

Lyrical. Took my breath away and broke my heart. Greece. War. Decency of soldiers. Indecency of war. Monsters. Humans. Where. Cats. Young girl's bed. Old woman's dream. Ending. And of course the Mandolin. Did I mention, Greece ? It is never too late. Love may get ole but if it is real then it's never forgotten nor forgiven. It can survive a war, it did and it survived them, in spite of each other. It survived the shuffle in the company of humans .
Dec 29, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This is a meaty, sweeping, witty, and romantic story about one of the more literarily-neglected corners of World War II, the involvement of Italy and Greece and the occupation by the former of the latter.

The action centers on the Greek island of Cephalonia, where the village doctor, Iannis, tends to the ailments of the locals and raises his beautiful and intelligent daughter, Pelagia. Pelagia's bethrothed, Mandras, disappears into the war, and when he returns, Pelagia no longer loves him, so he
Nov 13, 2006 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Unlike the movie, this book is a savory treasure. I've read several books by Bernieres and Corelli's Mandolin is one my favorites. The author has one of those bizarre scattered minds that makes following his plots similar to a carnival fun ride. You never know what is going to happen next. Bernieres's also written a crazy book that takes place in the Andes where this tribe takes peyote or some such drug and they start wandering all over the moutains and have wild dreams.

The book begins with a p
Matthew Klobucher
Feb 28, 2007 Matthew Klobucher rated it it was amazing
This apparently little-known book is a jewel. Written with passion and incandescant humor, the novel recreates WWII-era Greece (and to a certain extent, the rest of Fascist-occupied Europe at that time) with striking beauty. The characters are unforgettable and nearly all likeable; raw pathos, tragedy, comedy, and romance are fused into one gripping narrative that defies classification. It is, if anything, an effective composition of high Romance and a coming-of-age story: two classic stories in ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Mercedes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is spectacular. There were whole sections that I read over and over because they were so beautifully written and even one particular chapter that I made my whole family read - and even though none of them are readers they all thought it was fantastic!! I can honestly say I have never read a book that could move between genres so easily, with comedey and tragedy completely interwoven. Read it Read it!!!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
easily one of the best books i've ever read...
so good, i'm reading it again, even though i just did...
horrifying, yet beautiful in the extreme...
a brutally honest exploration into the notions of allegiance, loyalty, and the twisting emotional complexity of the forces that can either tie us together or force us apart...

in the face of betrayal and broken allegiances, corelli's mandolin, like corelli himself, is a force that continually works to pull and tie people together...

de bernieres has creat
Maya Panika
When I was living in Cuba, books in English were a precious commodity amongst the expat community. You read them, you passed them on - when you went home, you left them behind for those who would come after you. An American artist - one of many that passed through our lives - left me her doggy, much-read copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, exhorting me to read it; it was `incredible, unbelievable, the greatest book she'd ever read'. I had three attempts at it but never made it past page 30. It f ...more
Apr 30, 2009 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
This was a very unique story both in style and language. There was a quirky type of wordiness and humor that was slowly seductive if the reader could be receptive and willing to go for the ride.
The story begins in 1940 in Ceppalonia Greece, a small island described by Dr. Iannis as being full of magic and light. The first few chapters are written in the first person and are a kind of preamble to the plot. The viewpoints are Italian and Greek and are written from the point of view of an Italia
Holly Bond
Jun 10, 2012 Holly Bond rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes history and can find humor in all of life's angles
Recommended to Holly by: Connienie
First off...I don't know why this says the title is "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" when I'm staring at the book and it's clearly "Corelli's Mandolin." The "Captain" was added for the movie, but I can't find a correct link for the purposes of Goodreads.
First off, let me state that the movie was terrible, so don't go by that. Give this book a chance! It will make you laugh/cry/sigh/think. It really is in my top 5 books of all time. It was a really beautiful story set against the backdrop of WWII. I
Feb 22, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
I believe this book will be one of my favorite reads of 2013. Even though I felt that the story waned the last 25% or so of the book, I found it to be an excellent read.

The book gives the perspective of World War II from the Greek Island of Cephallonia. The characters are vivid, lively and entertaining. The light humor keeps the story moving all the while educating the reader about Cephallonian culture.

I was engaged from the first chapter when Dr. Iannis removes a petrified pea from old man Sta
Book Concierge
What a beautifully written book! I wept; I laughed out loud; I was furious; I was anxious and worried; I gasped in horror; I smiled secret smiles; I rejoiced; I LOVED. All the characters, even the minor ones, come to life. I did think a few chapters could have been edited, as they didn't serve the plot (but DID provide background history of WW II), and I found the ending unsatisfactory. But still, after borrowing it from the library I RAN out and bought it - High praise indeed.

I read it first i
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This is one of those books that I didn't actually have much interest in reading; nothing about it appealed to me, and watching the movie a few years ago didn't change that. But for some reason that eludes me now, I picked up a copy from somewhere, and after having it sit on my shelf for another year or so, I finally read it as part of my 2010 TBR Challenge. And I must say, as mentally exerting as it can be at times, it was well worth it.

Set on the picturesque Greek island of Cephallonia during W
Chance Maree
Jul 14, 2014 Chance Maree rated it really liked it

I enjoyed this love story mingled epic war story saga. Curious as to the historical accuracy, I researched, just a scratch of the surface, to find some controversy. From an article in The Guardian, "For many of the older generation, who lived through the events described in de Bernières's book, his story is a slur on the record of the Greek resistance to the Nazis and a mish-mash of distortions and untruths about their island's wartime history."

Nonetheless, I will not retain the events as specif
Feb 03, 2008 Bethany rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. I fell in love with all the words and the beautiful way they all fit together.

But, I do need to say, all the people that I recommended the book to, and the people that I know read the book, did not feel at all the same way.

In addition, the movie was all wrong.

Here is what I wrote about the book when I first read it:

An intelligent, heart pounding, gut wrenching book about a small island in Greece in World War 2. The island is occupied by the fascist Italians and some of Hitler
Jul 11, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read WWII books, and I read this one while waiting for my next batch of books to arrive. It was brilliantly written, very compelling and extremely tragic. It often bought a tear to my eye to read of the horrible plight the soldiers had to endure during the war, and made me grateful over and over to be fortunate enough to live in a time and place unaffected by war. The story was beautiful, and sad, about a young Greek woman named Pelagia and her father, and the man she falls in lo ...more
Drugi put citana knjiga. Ono cega se sjecam bila je ljubavna prica i njezini glavni i sporedni protagonisti, a sada i znam zasto. Ostalo nije vrijedno sjecanja. :P
Realno, 200 stranica previse!
Jan 21, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it
HEADLINE: An unforgivably long and tedious review of the book wherein is set out my modest proposal for an alternate ending.

Let me go out on a limb and say that this book should be included in the list of great novels that tell a fine love story against a backdrop of war. I'm thinking of A Farewell to Arms for example, though not War and Peace. It reminded me of The English Patient, which I admired so much for its richness of description of the sensual--sights, sounds, touches, and, not the leas
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Novelist Louis de Bernières was born in London in 1954. He joined the army at 18 but left after spending four months at Sandhurst. After graduating from the Victoria University of Manchester, he took a postgraduate certificate in Education at Leicester Polytechnic and obtained his MA at the University of London.

Before writing full-time, he held many varied jobs including landscape gardener, motor
More about Louis de Bernières...

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“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love", which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” 3631 likes
“Women only nag when they feel unappreciated.” 1350 likes
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