Hes Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, hes a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.
Shes Roza: Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Titos partisans. Shes in her twenties but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although shes not a hooker, when shes propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.
Over the next months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. Shes a fast-talking, wily Scheherazade, saving her own life by telling it to Chris. And he takes in her tales as if they were oxygen in an otherwise airless world. But is Roza telling the truth? Does Chris hear the stories through the filter of his own need? Does it even matter?
This deeply moving novel of their unlikely lovenarrated both in the moment and in recollection, each of their voices deftly realizedis also a brilliantly subtle commentary on storytelling: its seductions and powers, and its ultimately unavoidable dangers.
"[A]n oddball love story of two spiritually displaced would-be lovers .... The conclusion is crushing, and Chris's scorching regret burns brightly to the last line." - Publishers Weekly.
"A malodorous turkey. Corelli's Mandolin it ain't." - Kirkus Reviews.
"Although more introspective than de Bernières's other works, this latest novel is no less skillful. For all literary fiction collections." - Library Journal.
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Louis de Bernières, who lives in Norfolk, published his first novel in 1990 and was selected by Granta magazine as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. Since then he has become well known internationally as a writer and his sixth novel, Birds Without Wings, came out in 2004. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel. A Partisan's Daughter was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Notwithstanding: Stories from an English village was published in Autumn 2009.
As well as writing, he plays the flute, mandolin, clarinet and guitar. He was born in London in 1954.
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