Jake Kerridge

The Family McCosh

The Dust That Falls from Dreams

By Louis de Bernières

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

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