The Dust That Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières - review by Jake Kerridge

Jake Kerridge

The Family McCosh

The Dust That Falls from Dreams

By

Harvill Secker 515pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

When I was an undergraduate at the turn of the millennium, there was no surer icebreaker with a girl than asking, ‘Have you read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin?’ Louis de Bernières’s thumpingly romantic novel set on occupied Cephalonia was well on its way to ubiquity even before it received the imprimatur of Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill.

But in the two decades since it was published, none of de Bernières’s subsequent books has captured the public imagination to anything like the same extent. Alan Bennett once suggested that Thomas Hardy’s novels were popular because of the scenery, and perhaps the same was true of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: its success saw Cephalonia transformed into a tourist Mecca but did not turn de Bernières into a permanent popular favourite.

Yet if the less colourful settings of his recent novels have lost him his spot

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