When Italian soldiers arrive on the Greek island of Cephallonia during World War II, they impose themselves as guests in the residents’ homes. Charming, mandolin-playing Captain Antonio Corelli is billeted with Iannis, the village doctor and aspiring historian, and his daughter Pelagia. As Corelli and Pelagia grow closer, the looming war threatens to pull them apart. Corelli’s Mandolin is set amid real historical events and features a cast of fascinating characters, including Madras, a fisherman-turned-guerrilla; Gunter, a young, conflicted Nazi; and Carlo Piero Guercio, a heroic Italian soldier grieving the loss of the man he loved.
“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.”
Louis de Bernières is the author of several novels, including Birds Without Wings, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. He lives in England.
Length: 437 pages
Set in: Greece
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