Louis de Bernieres is world famous because of the beautifully rendered love story in ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’. The special qualities of that novel are not in question. Our belief, however, is that ‘Birds Without Wings’ is the better novel, a brilliantly patient creation of a state collapsing into its constituent nations. This is political story telling at its best. One doesn’t just read about the growing distrust between the characters and tribes, one feels it in one’s heart.
Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres, Vintage, 2005, £7.99, ISBN 0-099-47898-6