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de Bernières, Louis

set south war novels

(British, 1954– )

Born in London, de Bernières taught for a while in Columbia before turning his hand to fiction. After several moderately successful novels, Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994) was published, and the reading public fell in love with it, ensuring it was rarely out of the best-seller charts. Set in the isle of Cephalonia during the Second World War, it tells the story of Pelagia, who falls reluctantly in love with a captain of the occupying Italian army. The relationships in the novel are brilliantly described, as is the contrast between the bucolic existence on Cephalonia and the atrocities of war. De Bernières's earlier novels are set in South America and include The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman (1992), about a latter-day inquisition in a small South American country.

Birds Without Wings (2004) is set in south-west Anatolia during the last years of the Ottoman empire, and depicts a paradisical land where Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Turks, and Greeks, live happily together, until the twentieth century catches up with them.

Eric Linklater, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffrey Eugenides. See HISTORICAL  SA/JR

de Camp, Lyon Sprague [next]

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