Saturday, 18 January 2014

Notwithstanding - Louis de Bernieres




Here's a book of short stories, which you can read one at a time, or all together - and all of them will be worth the read.  However, the real joy in these stories is that in fact they all join up.  Not in order, not in date, not in history, but they do join up.  And they are a joy.  Considering that I never did finish either Captain Corelli's Mandolin, nor the War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Part, I would have said that I was not a de Bernieres fan.  But I am definitely a fan of this book, which weaves Englishness through the whole set of stories and introduces us to characters long dead, but alive always in this book, based on the author's memories of people he came across, and one or two of which most of us will have come across at sometime in our lives.  And if fact I remembed reading and appreciating his little novella The Red Dog, too - so perhaps for me, his forte is the short form.

 I loved the story of Mrs Mac, who talked to her dead husband as if he was still very much alive; I loved Robert, who had a pet rook for a while, I loved the silly bugger who had moles in his garden and paid the price,  and I loved Robert catching the Girt Pike.  Along the way I met characters who I had known, characters I had heard of, and characters who I will not forget.  A lovely read.  Don't rush it, take it as it comes, a story or two at a time.