Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book report: A Partisan's Daughter

This is de Bernieres' most recent novel. It is a departure in style from previous novels. Instead of a huge cast of characters, this has only two prominent characters. One is Roza, a 20-something single woman who meets Chris, a 50-something married man. When they meet, he believes she's a prostitute; she claims to have been a prostitute who's now out of the business. They forge a friendship over the course of months of periodic meetings. Each meeting is a story-telling session, with Roza telling Chris stories of big adventures (with a fair amount of cruelty) in her life. They're falling in love through this time, though neither admits their feelings. Spoiler alert: in the end, he gets drunk one night and offers to pay her for sex and calls her a bitch when she refuses. She's crushed, their friendship is over and their romance is over before it begins. We get a dose of Yugoslav/Serb/Croat history through Roza's life. I'm not recommending it. Had a decidedly Milan Kundera feel. If you want Milan Kundera, read Milan Kundera. If you want de Bernieres, read Birds Without Wings.

[Update: I've just re-read this and realized there are a couple things I should say. 1) as I've said in earlier posts, de Bernieres is one of my favorite authors who's written two of my all-time favorite books so I hold him to a higher standard; 2) I didn't mean to dis Milan Kundera; just saying that there's no reason to read de Bernieres channeling Kundera.]

1 comment:

Scooter said...

Oh my. I dare not post anything about my most recent listen...more airport fiction. But, there will be no more Patricia Cornwell for me.