A PARTISAN’S DAUGHTER by Louis de Bernieres
“I sometimes think that I know Roza’s stories better than I know my own.”
Review by Bonnie Brody (NOV 28, 2009)
One evening, Christian decides that he wants to pick up a prostitute for the first time in his life. He drives around in a certain part of London and sees a young woman dressed provocatively. He turns his car around and asks her how much she charges. She tells him that her price, when she did work, was 500 pounds, and this is a lot more than Christian could ever afford. However, she asks him for a ride home and their relationship begins then. Roza, the young woman, is the daughter of a partisan of Tito‘s army and she begins to beguile Chris with Scheherazade-like stories about her life night after night.
Chris is deeply in love with Roza. He is married to a woman who he describes as “the great white loaf.” Roza lives in a squatter’s apartment in London with an ubiquitous Bob Dylan and some other characters. Regularly, she and Chris get together for tea and story telling – mostly Roza’s stories. Some of the stories are poignant, some revolting, some draw us in so far that we don’t know where the story ends and the novel picks up. However, we never really know how much of Roza’s stories are the truth. Gradually, however, we see a growing closeness between Chris and Roza.
Though nothing sexual has happened yet, Chris is consumed with sexual images of Roza that keep him awake every night. He longs for her with all his heart and it appears that his feelings may be reciprocated. He is trying desperately to save 500 pounds in case Roza decides that she will return to the life.
Chris is a simpler man than Roza is in terms of life experiences. He often visits the library after his story times with Roza in order to check up on historical events or figures. He doesn’t know about the events that surrounded Tito’s regime, what the Ustase was, what the difference is between a communist, a socialist or an anarchist.
The reader is beguiled by Roza’s stories. We lament the events that Roza shares with us and are driven to fury and tears as Roza eloquently weaves her web of love for Chris. The characters that inhabit the squatter’s apartment are entertaining and fun as background. Chris has a daughter Roza’s age and he turns to her for information about the music and mores of the time.
This is a book that hits hard. It vacillates between intellectualizing, educating and didacticism, to the painful events of the heart, those aspects of us that we take with us no matter where our travels take us.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 18 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Vintage (October 6, 2009)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Louis de Bernieres|
|EXTRAS:||Reading Guide and Excerpt|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review:|
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- Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord (1991) *
- The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman (1992) *
- Corelli’s Mandolin (1994)
- Labels (1997)
- Red Dog: Stories (2001)
- Birds Without Wings (2004)
- A Partisan’s Daughter (2008)
- Notwithstanding (2009)
* The Latin American Trilogy
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- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)