30 Day Book Challenge Day 14 – Favourite Book by my Favourite Writer

For those of you who missed yesterday’s blog, to cut a long story short my favourite author is Louis de Bernières (have a look here if you missed this one). As I mentioned yesterday, my favourite book by my favourite author is not in fact my favourite book of all time, the title of which will be revealed at the end of these 30 blogs. However, my favourite novel by Louis de Bernières comes down to choosing between what are unarguably his two best novels, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Birds Without Wings.

Captain Corelli's MandolinCaptain Corelli’s Mandolin, written in 1994, is set on the Greek Island of Cephallonia during the Italian and German occupation from World War Two. While it details the war itself, and some aspects of the political side to the war, essentially it is about the social side, and is a love story between Pelagia, the daughter of the local doctor, Dr Iannis, and Antonio Corelli, the captain of the occupying Italian force who despises the war, and loves music and life. As the story progresses we see the effects of the war on various levels, from the effect on the forces themselves to the towns, right down to the individuals who are all affected in different ways, and in many cases are also driven by love. It is stunning both in story but also in the style of writing, managing to balance the humorous with the tragic to produce a beautiful tale of love, loss and war. This book also won de Bernières the Commonwealth Writers Prize the following year.

Birds Without Wings, written in 2004, is the longest book written by de Bernières, with an epic story to match. Set in the fictional village of Eskibahçe in southwestern Anatolia (although based upon a real village in the area now in ruins), this story spans through World War One and the era of Turkish nationalism, and focuses upon this village where two cultures and religions have resided peacefully together for centuries, only to be ripped apart when war and revolution sweep through. While it is slow to build up, this helps the reader to really fall in love with the characters and town, only to watch their worlds and lives turned upside down, which makes it all the more heartbreaking. The story also focuses on the tragic love story of Philothei and Ibrahim, who, like other characters in the novel, become caught up in all the political events which they cannot control. Lastly, throughout the novel is a Birds Without Wingsrunning story about the rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, “father of the Turkish nation”, which lends to the historical side of the novel quite well. While there are themes that cross over between this book and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and even some characters that cross over (though at different ages, due to the two decades separating the stories), this book is much more ambitious in scale and in story, and encompasses a lot more, being told through various perspectives as the tale progresses.

So which one is my favourite? It is quite difficult to decide. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is by far the more famous and more successful of the two novels, and as I mentioned yesterday, is probably the novel you want to start with if you have never read any work by de Bernières. It is beautiful, and unforgettable. And yet, when I read Birds Without Wings it just moved me that little bit more, it toiled with my emotions more, and had me hooked – I read the second half of the book in a single sitting because I just couldn’t stop. And so, at the end of the day, it is Birds Without Wings that I would consider my favourite book by my favourite author, although both novels I have mentioned here are fantastic.

What’s your favourite novel by your favourite author? Is it the same as your favourite novel of all time?

9 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 14 – Favourite Book by my Favourite Writer

  1. Mmmm, this is a difficult question. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I think, may be my favourite novel. However, my favourite author would have to be Tolkien (my favourite of his being Lord of the Rings).

  2. Under the Dome by Stephen King. I am a HUGE Stephen King fan. He is hands down my favorite author. I knew I loved his stuff in high school when we read Apt Pupil and Shawshank Redemption. I have a life goal to read everything he has written. There are exceptions of course because there is one book I don’t like of his. Bag of Bones was just horribly boring, but you win some and you lose some. He is so detailed and creative as a writer. I don’t know how he creates 5 main characters and develops all of them equally. I’m currently reading his spin on time travel..so good!

    • Oh wow, that is impressive – King has a ridiculous amount of books to read through! I must confess (don’t hate me hahaha), I haven’t read much Stephen King at all. I started reading The Stand years ago, and lost interest. His ideas sound good though, and I want to read him and like him, so I might try again soon. Because a lot of people do love him, like yourself, so there must be something I missed the first time I tried.
      I might try Under the Dome too, if you think that one’s your favourite? (I’m more inclined to believe your opinion over that of the general masses hahaha :P)

  3. It’s okay to not have read a lot of him. I don’t have many under my belt. I think The Stand is an intermediate SK book. Start with Carrie. It was his first book and it shows his ability to get inside the mind of a character he could never know intimately. Also, I would suggest trying his newest book, 11/22/63, it’s about a time traveling teacher who tries to go back and prevent the JFK assassination. It’s a much easier transition into the worlds of Stephen King. 🙂 Carrie is short and cheap, though, so I suggest that one first, then Under the Dome and 11/22/63. Glad you’re still willing to give him a shot..he is still 15 million kinds of crazy.

    • Ahhh okay then, I might start with Carrie. I actually had noticed 11/22/63, the idea behind that one sounds really interesting! I might add these books onto my next book order I put in!
      Thanks for the recommendations! 🙂

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