A Partisan’s Daughter

For my next read, I thought I’d choose a book that would suit my beach plans, so I got Louis de Bernières’s A Partisan’s Daughter from my locker. I thought the cover looked rather chick-lit, but apparently the book isn’t: it tells of the friendship between a 40-year-old bored salesman and a former Serbian prostitute from Yugoslavia. I’d previously attempted reading Birds Without Wings by Bernières, but didn’t like it, but I think I’ll like this book, or rather, the humour will suit my mood. Joanna Briscoe from the Guardian says:

An international bestseller can wreak havoc. Authors either attempt to replicate their winning formula with a distinct undertone of panic, or they bolt into rebellion mode. Louis de Bernières falls strongly into the latter camp, and his latest work is an oddity, even given the somewhat strange novels that followed Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

A few samples from the first chapter:

She was one of those insipid Englishwomen with skimmed milk in her veins, and she was perfectly content to be like that (3).

She stopped giggling, and then to my surprise she opened the passenger door and got in, bringing with her a tidal wave of heavy perfume that I found very unpleasant and stifling. It reminded me of my grandmother in old age, attempting to disguise the odours of incontinence (7).

I took her hand and shook it. I thought I ought to give her a false name, but couldn’t think of one. I was embarrassed by my name anyway. I’m not from a well-to-do family, and I always thought it sounded pretentious. “I’m Christian,” I said, having been reduced by confusion into telling the truth (9).

Let’s see what I will think of the rest of the book.

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