Captain Corelli's Mandolin became a word-of-mouth bestseller (and then a major feature film), and devotees will eagerly d"/>

BIRDS WITHOUT WINGS

Louis de Bernieres, Author . Knopf $25.95 (553p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4341-5

It's been nearly a decade since Captain Corelli's Mandolin became a word-of-mouth bestseller (and then a major feature film), and devotees will eagerly dig into de Bernières' sweeping historical follow-up. This time the setting is the small Anatolian town of Eskibahçe, in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. The large cast of characters of intermixed Turkish, Greek and Armenian descent includes breathtakingly lovely Philothei, a Christian girl, and her beloved Ibrahim, the childhood friend and Muslim to whom she is betrothed. The narrative immediately sets up Philothei's death and Ibrahim's madness as the focal tragedy caused by the sweep of history—but this is a bit of a red herring. Various first-person voices alternate in brief chapters with an authorial perspective that details the interactions of the town's residents as the region is torn apart by war; a parallel set of chapters follows the life of Kemal Atatürk, who established Turkey as a modern, secular country. The necessary historical information can be tedious, and stilted prose renders some key characters (like Philothei) one-dimensional. But when de Bernières relaxes his grip on the grand sweep of history—as he does with the lively and affecting anecdotes involving the Muslim landlord Rustem Bey and his wife and mistress—the results resonate with the very personal consequences that large-scale change can effect. Though some readers may balk at the novel's sheer heft, the reward is an effective and moving portrayal of a way of life—and lives—that might, if not for Bernières's careful exposition and imagination, be lost to memory forever. Agent, Lavinia Trevor. (Aug.)

Forecast: Corelli had the advantage of WWII, a prominent love story and a movie tie-in; this book's period and setting are less familiar. Still, readers who enjoyed Corelli will be likely to give it a chance. 10-city author tour.

Reviewed on: 08/30/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Show other formats
FORMATS
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1547-7
Hardcover - 928 pages - 978-0-375-43434-1
Hardcover - 640 pages - 978-0-676-97694-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-0382-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1550-7
Open Ebook - 576 pages - 978-0-307-42499-0
Ebook - 978-0-307-36887-4
Paperback - 553 pages - 978-0-676-97695-3
Book - 978-0-7393-1548-4
Paperback - 553 pages - 978-1-4000-7932-2
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.