Books

Blue Dog

Louis de Bernières

Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in the Daily Telegraph

From the author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the spellbinding story of a young boy and his dog adventuring through the outback.

When a family tragedy means Mick is sent to the outback to live with his Granpa, it looks as if he has a lonely life ahead of him. The cattle station is a tough place for a child, where nature is brutal and the men must work hard in the heat and dust. However, after a cyclone hits, things change for Mick. Exploring the floodwaters, he finds a lost puppy covered in mud and half-drowned. Mick and his dog immediately become inseparable as they take on the adventures offered by their unusual home, and the business of growing up, together.

In this charming prequel to the much-loved Red Dog, Louis de Bernières tells the moving story of a young boy and his Granpa, and the charismatic and entertaining dog who so many readers hold close to their hearts.

With illustrations by Alan Baker

Of Love and Desire

Louis de Bernières (and others)

Of Love and Desire is a rich collection of love poems from Louis de Bernières, written over a lifetime, and capturing its many forms – from rapture, infatuation, urgency, to sorrow, heartache and disillusion.

Poetry was de Bernières’ first and greatest literary love, a passion evident in the musicality and emotion of his poems, which are full of stories and the truth of lived experience. This, his second collection, bears the mark of many influences, from the classical Persian poets, to Neruda, to Quintus Smyrnaeus, to Brian Patten.

Beautifully illustrated by Donald Sammut, this is an indispensable companion on the lover’s journey.

The Dust that Falls from Dreams

Louis de Bernières

In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood.

When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?

Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world.

Imagining Alexandria

Louis de Bernières

Poetry was Louis de Bernières’ first literary love and Imagining Alexandria is his debut poetry collection. Here the author of the much-loved Captain Corelli’s Mandolin returns us to the vivid Mediterranean landscape of his fiction.

De Bernières was introduced to Greek poetry while in Corfu in 1983, and since then he has always travelled with a book of Cavafy's poetry in his pocket. Not surprisingly, his own poems about the distant past, the erotic and the philosophical owe much to the influence of the great Alexandrian poet.

Beautifully illustrated with line drawings by Donald Sammut, this is a collection rich in sensuality, nostalgia, and music.

Talking to George (Storycuts)

Louis de Bernières

John the gardener is disillusioned with his life, past and present. Alan is John's assistant, helplessly in love with Sylvie, the stable girl. These three characters are united by their friendship and by George, the barn spider.

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Notwithstanding.

The Death of Miss Agatha Feakes (Storycuts)

Louis de Bernières

Agatha Feakes looks back over her life and experiences, blissfully unaware that is her last day living . . .

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Notwithstanding.

The Girt Pike (Storycuts)

Louis de Bernières

11-year-old Robert is asked by the beautiful Mrs. Rendall to catch the infamous 'Girt Pike' from her pond. Too poor to buy the appropriate fishing rod for the daunting task, Robert fashions his own, proving to himself, Mrs. Rendall and the rest of the village that he is capable of anything. However, it is not all happy endings . . .

Part of the Storycuts series, this short story was previously published in the collection Notwithstanding.

Notwithstanding

Louis de Bernières

Welcome to the village of Notwithstanding, where a lady dresses in plus fours and shoots squirrels, a retired general gives up wearing clothes altogether, a spiritualist lives in a cottage with the ghost of her husband, and people think it quite natural to confide in a spider that lives in a potting shed. Based on de Bernières' recollections of the village he grew up in, Notwithstanding is a funny and moving depiction of a charming vanished England.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Louis de Bernières

It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscientious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consummate musician.

When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiancé - a member of the underground - go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?

A Partisan's Daughter

Louis de Bernières

Chris is in his forties: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. He's a stranger to the 1970s youth culture of London, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a prostitute into his car.
Roza is Yugoslavian, recently moved to London. She's in her twenties, but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And though she's not a prostitute, 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 it even matter?

Birds Without Wings

Louis de Bernières

Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia - a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries.

When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Birds Without Wings is a novel about the personal and political costs of war, and about love: between men and women; between friends; between those who are driven to be enemies; and between Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd, who has courted her since infancy. Epic in sweep, intoxicating in its sensual detail, it is an enchanting masterpiece.

Red Dog

Louis de Bernières

'In early 1998 I went to Perth in Western Australia in order to attend the literature festival, and part of the arrangement was that I should go to Karratha to do their first ever literary dinner. Karratha is a mining town a long way further north. The landscape is extraordinary, being composed of vast heaps of dark red earth and rock poking out of the never-ending bush. I imagine that Mars must have a similar feel to it.

I went exploring and discovered the bronze statue to Red Dog outside the town of Dampier. I felt straight away that I had to find out more about this splendid dog. A few months later I returned to Western Australia and spent two glorious weeks driving around collecting Red Dog stories and visiting the places that he knew, writing up the text as I went along. I hope my cat never finds out that I have written a story to celebrate the life of a dog.' Louis de Bernieres

Sunday Morning At The Centre Of The World

Louis de Bernières

Taking his inspiration from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, Louis de Bernières chose to celebrate his ten years of life in the south London suburb, living above a small shop that had been by turns an outlet for oversized naughty clothes for transvestites, a West Indian hairdressers and a junk shop, by writing of the people that he had known and come to love in his time there.

Brilliantly capturing the myriad voices of modern Britain, with their different rhythms of speech and accents, their humour and their tragedy, jokes and gossip, de Bernières' tour de force takes us to the heart of a community and its spirit - the lives and loves, the tears and the laughter of its people.

The Troublesome Offspring Of Cardinal Guzman

Louis de Bernières

While the economy of his small South American country collapses, President Veracruz joins his improbable populace of ex-soldiers, former guerrillas, unfrocked priests and reformed - though by no means inactive - whores, in a bizarre search for sexual fulfilment.

But for Cardinal Guzman, a man tormented by his own private daemons, their stupendous, hedonistic fiestas represent the epicentre of all heresies.Heresies that must be challenged with a horrifying new inquisition destined to climax in a spectacular confrontation...

Senor Vivo & The Coca Lord

Louis de Bernières

Dionisio Vivo, a South American lecturer in philosophy, is puzzled by the hideously mutilated corpses that keep turning up outside his front door. To his friend, Ramon, one of the few honest policemen in town, the message is all too clear: Dionisio's letters to the press, exposing the drug barons, must stop; and although Dionisio manages to escape the hit-men sent to get him, he soon realises that others are more vulnerable, and his love for them leads him to take a colossal revenge.

War Of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts

Louis de Bernières

When the spoilt and haughty Dona Constanza tries to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, she starts a running battle with the locals. The skirmishes are so severe that the Government dispatches a squadron of soldiers led by the fat, brutal and stupid Figueras to deal with them.

Despite visiting plagues of laughing fits and giant cats upon the troops, the villagers know that to escape the cruel and unusual tortures planned for them, they must run. Thus they plan to head for the mountains and start a new and convivial civilisation.

Louis de Bernières

Biography

Louis de Bernières is the best-selling author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. His most recent novels are Birds Without Wings and A Partisan's Daughter.