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Corelli's Mandolin

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  82,641 ratings  ·  3,132 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 all.
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 tit…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)
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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, but I'm especially 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 Cephalonia during Italian an
Mar 30, 2008 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
Aug 25, 2021 marked it as abandoned
DNF at 20% (page 100).

I bought this in a 2nd hand bookstore because I enjoyed the writing on the first few pages. After many years sitting on my shelves I brought it with me on vacation in Kefalonia because it was set there. I hoped it will make the reading experience a lot more interesting. I am not sure what went wrong. The writing seems funny and elaborate but it was such a chore to advance. I felt I was running in the sand. I almost never opened the book with anticipation and I preferred to
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The presence of--& intrepidly sudden breaks from--romantic conventions is what makes "Corelli's Mandolin" (alongside its romantic older brother, book two of his Latin American trilogy, the devastating love tale "Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord") one of the MOST ROMANTIC novels of ALL TIME. On par with "Gone With the Wind," & other epics like "Cold Mountain" & "The English Patient," it truly was, to this impressionable-though-selective reader, what is the equivalent of a wondrous trip to Adult Disne ...more

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 saccha
Justin Hudnall
Apr 08, 2008 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...
Joey Woolfardis
Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.

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 start
Kimber Silver
“We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.”
― Louis de Bernières, Corelli's Mandolin

The sheer beauty and emotion that coats the pages of this book are breathtaking. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love, and my heart was broken. Eavesdropping on the horror of war, I found heroes in the unlikeliest places and, at the end, I wanted to hurl the book across the room!

To evoke such passion is the true sign of a great writer.

The setting is the
Aug 28, 2007 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
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2014 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.
I don't often reread books, but, first of all, I realised that it's been nearly twenty-five years since I originally read this (which is mildly terrifying), and second of all the chance to read it while I was on Cephalonia seemed too good to pass up. And it was a transcendent experience to be able to walk along the seafront of Argostoli (where I could imagine Pelagia's grandchildren had one of their souvenir shops) and past the little monument to the fallen soldiers of the Acqui division, where ...more
May 03, 2011 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
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had this book in my possession for probably 20 years. A friend had highly recommended it and I actually had it signed when Louis de Bernieres came to Calgary in 2002. I'm not sure why it took me so long to read it, but I finally did.
Was it worth the wait? I'd have to say yes and no. This book was like a roller coaster ride. It was a slow climb to build any momentum ( it took me ~85 pages to get into the book), and then I was in love with it, and then it plummeted downwards and eventually
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 15, 2009 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
Jun 25, 2008 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
Aug 31, 2011 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!!!
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laysee by: Kevin Ansbro
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides… That is just being ‘in love’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident” – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

Take an idyllic Greek island that “smells of pines, warm earth, and the dark sea” where its hardworking inhabitants eke out a quiet living. Throw in a lonely mountain goatherd, a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Esteban del Mal
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, donated, novel, war
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
Judith E
Jul 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction, greece
What de Bernieres does so well is paint a picture of contrast. He inserts the reader into a simple Greek village of contented people only to have it torn apart by politics, prejudices, and megalomaniacs, thus turning the populace into victims.

de Bernieres’ humor includes sharp mockery of invading governments. The village residents and the Italian, German, and communist characters are complex and evolving. With clearly drawn landscapes and climate of Cephalonia Island, one is envious of those wh
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
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
I went into this one with low expectations... and probably remain sitting on the fence. Some people love it, others seem to detest it. For me - neither.
(Bit spoilery from here on, but it is based on History, so hopefully most people know a bit about this).
For the first part of the story, set realistically in Cephalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands off Greece in 1941, tells of the Italian and German occupation. It is a relatively peaceful time - the Italians are peaceful and respectful of t
Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de Bernières A thoroughly enjoyable book, which brought me laughter sadness anger happiness disappointment redemption and wastefulness. In essence this story was a love triangle between Pelagia (local Doctor Lannis daughter) Mandras her first sweetheart a young local fisherman, whom she fell out of love after Mandras never kept in contact after he went away to fight the Italian and German invasion, only because he was illiterate and ashamed he couldn't write to h ...more
Daniel Villines
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it

Update, 11 July 2020, The Movie:

Shawn Slovo was the screen writer responsible for transforming Bernières novel into the two-hour movie. For the first two-thirds of the movie, in a manner very similar to the novel, Slovo does a remarkable job of boiling the book down to it's main theme of impossible love. It's the final third, of the movie that Slovo could not come to terms with. The movie quickly degrades at this point into action sequences that make little sense and an ending that is also less
Joy D
Historical fiction set on the Greek island of Cephalonia during the Axis powers’ occupation in WWII. The first part focuses on a young Greek woman, Pelagia, and her widowed physician father, Dr. Iannis. Pelagia learns medical techniques by watching her father, and she is educated beyond the typical level (especially for a woman of the time) due to being the doctor’s only child. She and a local fisherman, Mandras, fall in love and get engaged. He goes off to fight the war on the Albanian front. D ...more
Nov 13, 2006 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
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 entertaining. 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 parody of Mussolini that made me laugh out loud. The rest of the book
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
Beth Bonini
I first read this book in 1994, not long after my first daughter was born. It was that book that everyone seemed to be reading - and deservedly so, because it is as rich, detailed, panoramic and insightful as any of the great classics. I reread it this week because I was visiting Kefalonia (or Cephallonia) - the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Kefalonia in the summer of 2017 is an idyllic place: peaceful, clean, sparsely populated, and graced with the clearest, bluest water I've ...more
Matthew Klobucher
Feb 28, 2007 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
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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

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