If, like me, you can’t swing a sunny Mediterranean getaway this Spring, stop by Newport Library and pick up Corelli’s Mandolin, by the English writer, Louis De Bernieres. And be prepared to get carried away by a magical story of love and war set along the beautiful coast of Greece.
Despite being on the wrong side of history, Capitano Antonio Corelli isn’t such a bad guy. True, he is a soldier in the Italian army occupying the Greek island of Cephallonia in the early days of World War II. Naturally, the islanders must therefore consider him the enemy.
Instead of acting the conqueror, Corelli has fallen in love with the place. He loves the music, the food, and the wine. And he gets along famously with the islanders, who mostly understand that he’s just doing his job. Capitano Corelli has also fallen in love with Pelagia, the beautiful, headstrong daughter of the island’s Doctor Iannis.
A local fisherman, Mandras, also loves Pelagia. But Mandras isn’t nearly as well-liked as Corelli. And then there’s Carlo Piero, another Italian soldier, who loves Capitano Corelli and who would do anything to protect him. At first, the romantic twists and turns between Greeks and Italians on this Aegean paradise far from the main theater of war are all a bit of sun-splashed, wine-soaked fun.
But then the Germans arrive on the island and spoil everything.
It was a terrible movie. But it’s a terrific book, just the sort of thing to brighten the gray days. And you can reserve Corelli’s Mandolin here.