Title: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Author: Louis de Bernieres
Page Count/Review Word Count: 438
I had high hopes going into this one and I’m sad to say that it left me a little disappointed. de Bernieres’ writing style is excellent and the actual book felt almost poetic because of the way in which it was written. The problem is that it just dragged on and on, and while the characters were realistic and fully fleshed out, I just didn’t relate to them.
In the end, I was left with this feeling that there was all of this interesting stuff happening in the world and instead we were stuck with a slow burner of a romance, which isn’t my thing to begin with. I generally enjoy books that are set during war, and it is true that I liked some of what the author had to say here and the way that the characters related to the sheer hellishness of it all. It’s just that even the bits that I was interested in ended up amounting to little more than a line or two in someone’s letter.
I think part of the problem was that I was expecting something more than I got. It’s a competent enough novel, it was just a little too slow for me, and I do think it would have benefitted from a little extra editing. It’s not exactly supposed to be fast-paced in the first place, and there are some interesting bits of character development. There’s also a lot of talking, too much of it for my liking, and while there are plenty of references to goats throughout, I was expecting it to have some sort of payoff instead of just feeling like a wasted metaphor.
But I’m still glad that I read this, even if I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I’m just a little mad at it because I ended up in something of a reading slump and only managed to get through the latter half of the book by reading 20 pages at a time before going to bed. I also now have no desire to see the movie, and in fact I’m not even sure how they’d manage to do it considering all of the plot could be squeezed into half an hour or so.
All in all, it was a bit of a disappointment, especially because it came highly recommended. I went out of my way to read it, and that’s definitely not worth doing. If you can pick it up cheap from a used book store, be my guest. Otherwise, just don’t bother.