Corelli’s Mandolin ) delivers an oddball love story of two spiritually displaced would-be lovers. During a dreary late 1970s London win"/>
 

A Partisan’s Daughter

Louis de Bernieres, Author
Louis de Bernieres, Author . Knopf $21 (185p) ISBN 978-0-307-26887-7
Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008

De Bernières (Corelli’s Mandolin ) delivers an oddball love story of two spiritually displaced would-be lovers. During a dreary late 1970s London winter, stolid and discontented Chris is drawn to seedy and mysterious Roza, a Yugoslav émigrée he initially believes is a prostitute. She isn’t (though she claims to have been), and soon the two embark on an awkward friendship (Chris would like to imagine it as a romance) in which Roza spins her life’s stories for her nondescript, erstwhile suitor. Roza, whose father supported Tito, moved to London for opportunity but instead found a school of hard knocks, and she’s all too happy to dole out the lessons she learned to the slavering Chris. The questions of whether Roza will fall for Chris and whether Chris will leave his wife (he calls her “the Great White Loaf”) carry the reader along, as the reliability of Chris and Roza, who trade off narration duties, is called into question—sometimes to less than ideal effect. The conclusion is crushing, and Chris’s scorching regret burns brightly to the last line. (Oct.)

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