In A Partisan's Daughter, the latest offering from Louis de Bernieres, we are presented with two narrators. The first, Christian (Chris for short), seems to be writing now (i.e. in the early 21st century) about his relationship at the end of the Winter of Discontent (i.e. 1978-79) with the eponymous partisan's daughter, Roza. I am not the sort of man who goes to prostitutes he begins, and then admits that people would disbelieve it.
Chris describes the loneliness of his life at the time, married to the 'Great White Loaf', an insipid Englishwoman with skimmed milk in her veins. This is his excuse for stopping his car one day to pick up a prostitute standing on a street corner in Archway. There is a misunderstanding: Chris asks her if she has the time and she replies, in 'quite a strong accent' that her watch has stopped and Chris realises he has made 'a horrible mistake'. Roza asks him to give her a lift home, and on the way she tells him that once she used to be a bad girl, and her going rate was £500. She invites him to call back one day for a coffee.
And so begins the odd-couple relationship between a forty-something travelling salesman and a twenty-something 'fast-talking Scheherazade'. This beautifully written book works on several levels, and it had me entranced from the first page. Read my full review on The Bookbag website by clicking here.