Chris is bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, he's a stranger to the 1970s youth culture of London, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.
Roza is Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her twenties, but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And though she's not a hooker, when she's propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway.
Over the next few months Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. She's a fast-talking 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?
The deeply moving story of their unlikely love - narrated in the moment and through recollection, each of their voices deftly realized - is also a brilliantly subtle commentary on storytelling: its seductions and powers, and its ultimately unavoidable dangers.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ian on 07-04-08
The Partisan's Daughter
Although well read in this audio version, this is overall a disappointing novel. The rich background detail - historical, cultural and biographical - which punctuates de Berniere's earlier works, particularly Corelli's Mandolin and Birds without Wings, is sadly lacking. The narrative is narrowly focussed on an obsession which is too prurient and manipulative to merit any association with love. Roza's biography and its relating become increasingly far-fetched and the denouement, such as it is, is predictable and cliched.
Neither of the main characters engages our sympathy or interest and they both remain superficially drawn. If they are two-dimensional, the other figures, with the exception of Dylan Upstairs, are ghostlike in their portrayal.
Overall a dramatic lapse in form.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Roy on 12-09-08
Good but a bit dull really..
I bought this on the basis of listening to the preview chapter on the Audible podcast. The first chapter is superb and the last is pretty good too. Unfortunately the middle drags a bit and the author uses up all his good jokes and surpises early on. It is very well read though and has a nice gentle pace. It reminded me of Julian Barnes' Metroland, which is not altogether a bad thing. I think the problem with it is that the initial chapter promises one thing and the rest of the book gives something else entirely.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful