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A Partisan's Daughter

3.07 of 5 stars 3.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,538 ratings  ·  223 reviews
England, late 1970s. Forty-something Chris is trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. Roza, in her twenties, the daughter of one of Tito’s partisans, has only recently moved to London from Yugoslavia. One evening, Chris mistakes her for a prostitute and propositions her. Instead of being offended, she gets into his car. Over the next months Roza tells Chris stories of her ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Vintage (first published 2008)
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Alex R
To tell the truth, the only reason I bought this book in the first place was because I had a coupon that I was itching to spend, and this was the first book I could find that looked remotely interesting. Afterwards, it sat in my room, gathering dust, until I decided to organize my book collection in my closet into read and to-read. I made a promise to myself that before I buy another book, I must get through all my to-reads and not be wasteful. This was the first book I chose from my "to-read" s ...more
Nobody does love and loss like De Bernieres. This is Scheherezade retold but in it, everyone is trying to save themselves in different ways. It's also about the power of storytelling itself.
It starts a bit slowly and initially the characters are not entirely sympathetic, but as the veils come off you are helplessly drawn in.
I don't generally read everything any one author writes but for me, DeBernieres is an exception.
Scheherazade redivivus! We exist in the minds of others and in our own minds in the tales we tell about ourselves. Our autobiographies are always (intentionally and unintentionally) works of creative nonfiction and sometimes are entirely invented to enhance our self-esteem, to entertain our friends, or to intrigue lovers and potential lovers. This is a book about such tales, about those who need to tell them and those who need to believe what is told. It is both the narrative of an elaborate cou ...more
As the star rating indicates, this book was okay. It was interesting. It definitely falls into the category of "literary fiction," as if it were more important, or better than, say, chick lit or YA or fantasy. Sometimes, these books are better than your average bear of a chick lit novel. This one wasn't. Like I said, it was okay. I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own, but my wonderful friend Aimee sent it to me for my bday. And it was interesting enough. I finished it in a few days. I ...more
A Partisan's Daughter is the latest novel by Louis de Bernieres, the first since Birds Without Wings. It is a very small novel, almost a novella. Set in the late 70s and early 80s, it is the story of a young Serbian woman, Roza, who is living illegally in Britain and Chris, a middle-aged traveling salesman who has become besotted with her. He visits her whenever he can (he's unhappily married) and they drink tea while she tells him stories of her life.

He is a milquetoast, kindly but dull, afraid
Every great novel must have a great first sentence: "I am not the sort of man who goes to prostitutes," really catches the eye.

I finished this book last night. I read from 8-11:30 and finished the last half (it's a quick read). There is a surprise that is supposed to happen at the end, but it just never happens. Perhaps it means that the story is in the journey and not in the ending, but it was a bit annoying.

This book is like Birds without wings in that it is the story of yugoslavia through th
Stefania Gartz
Αυτός είναι ο Κρις: σαραντάρης, μοναχικός, παγιδευμένος σε ένα γάμο δίχως έρωτα, ξένος μέσα στη λονδρέζικη νεανική κουλτούρα της δεκαετίας του '70, ξένος απέναντι στον ίδιο τον εαυτό του τη νύχτα που προσκαλεί μια πόρνη στο αυτοκίνητό του. Αυτή είναι η Ρόζα: Γιουγκοσλάβα, πανέμορφη, άρτι αφιχθείσα στο Λονδίνο, κόρη ενός από τους παρτιζάνους του Τίτο, με μια ζωή γεμάτη κινδύνους και τραγωδίες. Δίχως να το πολυσκεφτεί, δέχεται την πρόταση του Κρις και μπαίνει στο αυτοκίνητό του. Για τους επόμενους ...more
Jayne Charles
This isn’t so much a story as the recalling of someone telling a story – all very arm’s length. For this reason I found it hard to get into, and I was constantly reminded that as much as anything else it was a way of proving that Louis de Bernieres’ encyclopaedic knowledge of international history and culture now extends to the Balkans.

Once I reached the middle third things speeded up, and I found it more enjoyable. Books by this author are always full of intelligence with frequent humorous side
"You shouldn't think people love you. You should wait for it to be said because if you push it, it rolls over the edge and it gets broken." (Paraphrased).

Roza appears to be too trusting and she is the kind that when people treat her in a certain way and do certain things for/to her, she concludes that they love her. This leads to her being disappointed in many ways which in turn also leads to her running away...all the time.

"You can go as far as you like, but a broken heart travels with you." he
When we read, we read thru the filters of our life. Our past experiences, our perceptions, our dreams, our failures. And so with this individual approach, it’s always interesting to hear about people’s personal response to a story about missed opportunities and wrong turns. Is it cathartic to read about these things, making your own bad decisions more palatable? Are we able to connect at a deeper, more empathetic level with the fallible characters but otherwise are relieved that it wasn’t us? I ...more
Paul Curd
In A Partisan’s Daughter we are presented with two narrators. The first, Christian (Chris for short), seems to be writing now (i.e. in the early 21st century) about his relationship at the end of the Winter of Discontent (i.e. 1978-79) with the eponymous partisan’s daughter, Roza. ‘’I am not the sort of man who goes to prostitutes’’ he begins, and then admits that people would disbelieve it.

Chris describes the loneliness of his life at the time, married to the ‘Great White Loaf’, an insipid Engl
John Aubrey
Louis de Bernieres, in his novel A Partisan's Daughter, answers a common question. Why do men lay down five dollars cover to enter a dim lit strip club to watch women they probably couldn't take home to mom, take off their bikini tops and gyrate out of arm's reach for ten to fifteen minutes? Then pay another twenty to forty dollars for these women to take them into a even darker alcove, sit them on cheap sofas and grind on their fully clothed laps for three to five minutes with no attention what ...more
Years ago, I read and fell in love with Corelli's Mandolin. So, I was interested to pick up de Bernieres's most recent novel, which has received a great deal of praise. A Partisan's Daughter takes place in London and is a sexually obsessed love story told from the alternating first-person perspectives of Chris, an unhappily married man, and Roza, a Yugoslavian immigrant who Chris initially mistakes for a prostitute. As the two spend increasing amounts of time together, Chris fancies their relati ...more
Set in England in the 1970's with alternating chapters and viewpoints we are drawn into the life of middle-aged Chris - bored, lonely and never eager to go home to the "Great White Loaf" and Roza a young Yugoslav immigrant whose father was one of Tito's partisans. Roza is a masterful storyteller who has seized more than her share of moments in life and struggles with love. Sometimes told in the present sometimes in recollection with historical and political touch points a celebration of ordinary ...more
Christian meets Roza and she tells him stories from her life while he wonders if she will sleep with him.

Louis de Bernieres is very good at telling multiple human stories within a larger historical one. This book is not really like that. You have the historical background of 1979 London and the complex history of Yugoslavia, but it isn't at the core of the book like "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" or "Birds without Wings".
Neither does this book have the supernatural aspects of the South American tr
The variety of styles and historical contexts in de Bernieres' work is quite astonishing. This (by his standards) rather slight novel is based in London, although with strong links to the Balkans and to the wars and regions which have been one area of the author's interests. An enjoyable exploration of the nature of love, with some exploration too of the life of an illegal immigrant. A pleasant, if not memorable read: not one of his best novels like the almost equally recent Birds without Wings.
Katie Q
There are a number of 1 and 2 star reviews for this book that I feel are rather harsh. I found the book to be captivating, a little sad and interesting. Interesting from the fact that we all deal with our life situations differently.

In this case we have 2 people escaping their lives for just a few hours at a time quite innocently. The story is quite cynical yet not depressing. Somehow de Bernieres manages to keep the story light.
I read Corelli's Mandolin many moons ago and remembered quite liking it. I also remember having to have a dictionary handy to look up words occasionally :) At any rate, I really enjoyed this book. It is essentially a man approaching his middle-age crisis in late 70s, early 80s England, who meets a woman from Yugoslavia and becomes infatuated with her and the story of her life. We never learn if all of the story of her life is true and certainly there are parts that are and others that aren't. Wh ...more
First of all, Louis de Bernieres is definitely one of my favourite authors. From the beginning till the end, the book captivates you. All the stories that the main character Roza tells and different perspectives add a cinematographic effect to the book. Moreover, the reader's curiosity is kept by all of them. Bernieres' talent to visualise everything makes the reader not read but see everything through the lines. When it comes to the end, there is nothing to do but clap your hands for this wonde ...more
No wonder publishing houses have put a hiatus on soliciting new manuscripts.
This could have been a powerful story if written better. Two damaged people meet in the most unlikely situation - he (an unhappily married Englishman) trying to pick her up thinking she is a hooker, and she (a Yugoslav refugee and a Tito partisan's daughter) pretending to be one. They end up at her place and she tells him a series of harrowing adventures, from childhood to the present, which only results in making him fall in love with her.

The stories are a catharsis for her; they only serve to
I picked this one up because I thought the time - London in the '70s - might be a really provocative look into the pre-punk scene. And there are slivers of insight into how insular it was to be living on the fringes of society in "squats" (before the govt eventually tore down all the relics whose tie to greatness was that folks like Joe Strummer lived in the old buildings once upon a time).

The story is a romance told from both perspectives but looking back. We realize that the woman has been mak
I noticed on Amazon that there are very few 5 star reviews of this book. The difference between those who liked it enough to give it 4 stars and who did not seems to be whether or not the reader believed in the characters. I have to say that I am in the non-believer camp.

I found the premise that we are reading the memoirs of an old man who is looking back on the relationship he had with a young woman during a period of midlife crisis in his 40s ordinary. However, the novel did not stick with th
While many may have expected a war-themed or a similar novel of epic proportions after Mandolin, de Bernieres attempts the whimsical and simple this time. Though readers' disappointment may be expected, it is a commendable effort of a direct change in writing style and how the narrative is told from both the characters' perspectives. The two main (in fact, only) characters here are Roza and Chris, and the story balances both distinct personalities and rides on the strength of character developme ...more
My very pleasant experiences with novelist Louis de Bernières' books have led me to expect engaging, well upholstered stories with unforgettable characters. Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Birds Without Wings, etc. are all novels that dissect a community's history using romance, comedy, tragedy, war and global politics. In A Partisan's Daughter his cast is much smaller, tiny even, but he uses the same emotional touchstones.

Roza is a wily twenty something Yugoslavian re
Steve Cran
Chris a gentleman in his mid forties unhappily married in a loveless marriage meets a woman named Roza dressed up as a prostitute standing on a street corner. He picks her up but the woman tells him that she is an ex prostitute. Chris drives her home and the two share a cup of coffee. From their a platonic relationship develops. Chris is married to a woman he calls the "Great White Loaf" the marriage is sexless and loveless. He makes his living by selling medical equipment to physicians. Typical ...more
This novel is by Louis de Bernieres,author of Corelli's Mandolin, who holds a special affection for Greece and the Balkans. This novel is told from the point of view of Chris, a married English man in his 40's who seems to be undergoing a midlife crisis, and a Bosnian woman named Roza. He picks her up believing she is a prostitute. Her identity proves to be more complex and mysterious than his assumptions. She invites him into her derelict flat scheduled for demolition and over the course over m ...more
Victoria Roe
Interesting read in that it's like a miniature version of some of the longer novels. De Bernieres is at his best, as always, when seamlessly combining personal tales with the political zeitgeist and the tales of old Yugoslavia are passionate and brutal in equal measure, as I've come to expect. I like the little tie-ins with CCM and BWW, they're like little shout-outs to people that have read the other stories without ever being obtuse to those that haven't.

The one thing that left me slightly col
It was an ok book. Nothing great.

The story revolved around Chris, a middle-ager Brit, and Roza, a Yugoslav girl. Chris was in an unhappy marriage with "the Great White Loaf." He was seeking a prostitute when he ran into Roza on the street and mistaken her for one (well, we're not so sure if she was one). They were drawn to each other because Chris was unhappy and Roza was bored. Chris became Roza's audience, while Roza gave Chris something interesting to cling on to. We knew that Roza was lying
Bernieres, Louis de. A PARTISAN’S DAUGHTER. (2008). ****. This is the author’s latest book, and once again demonstrates his skill at carrying the reader along with simple dialog. It is the story of Christopher and Roza. Christopher is a bored pharmaceutical salesman in London who suddenly decides to do something different. He is plagued with a wife at home who has become indifferent to him and to the world. He refers to her as, “a great loaf of white bread.” Now he believes it is time to get som ...more
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Allegory 1 13 Jan 10, 2010 06:12PM  
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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...
Captain Corelli's Mandolin Birds Without Wings The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

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“...but then the general trouble with ignorance is always that the ignorant person has no idea that that's what they are. You can be ignorant and stupid and go through your whole life without ever encountering any evidence against the hypothesis that you're a genius.” 21 likes
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