Mandolin Overboard


INFO OVERLOAD: Subplots abound in Birds, but de Bernières fails to tie them together

Pity the plight of the super bestseller. Louis de Bernières was 39 when his fourth novel, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, became a surprise global phenomenon, selling around 3.5 million copies in 24 languages. Now, at 49, he's just getting around to publishing the follow-up, Birds Without Wings (Secker & Warburg). What has he done in the intervening decade? A few short stories, a biblical preface, and a lame children's novella called Red Dog. With his fans clamoring for more of the same, and detractors eager to prove him a one-hit wonder, it's little surprise that he told a reporter in April 2001...

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