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Friday, November 13, 2009

" The Partisan's Daughter" by Louis De Berniere

Chris a gentleman in his mid forties unhappily married in a loveless marriage meets a woman named Roza dressed up as a prostitute standing on a street corner. He picks her up but the woman tells him that she is an ex prostitute. Chris drives her home and the two share a cup of coffee. From their a platonic relationship develops. Chris is married to a woman he calls the "Great White Loaf" the marriage is sexless and loveless. He makes his living by selling medical equipment to physicians. Typical middle class gentleman.

Roza on the other hand smoke and drinks while living in a broken down apartment with the wires hanging out of the walls. She has lived a fast life totally opposite of what Chris lives. The relationship builds upon the stories that Roza tells about herself. She has lived a fast life so there is lots to tell. This contrast greatly with Chris's boring life.

Roza was the daughter of a partisan as the title so aptly tells. Her father a a soldier for Tito the great uniter of Yugoslavia. He fought against Bosnians, Croats and Albanians. He took five bullets in the chest which could never be removed. He has front teeth that were smashed in by a helmet. Roza adored and loved him. She even seduced him at one time, something which made her feel good and the father feel like garbage. Her father and mother were polar opposite who end up getting divorced after she is 18.

Roza grew up on a farm falling in love with her animals and pets until one day a cat eats her pet bird. While growing up she stumbled upon a corpse. While growing up she had a best friend whom she shared a lesbian relationship. Of course this ended like all good things as her best friend leaves to get married.

Roza's life takes a turning point when she goes to college and falls in love with a Croatian man. He ends up leaving her for another woman which prompts Roza to leave the university and try to make it to England. She cannot get there due to Visa requirements. Instead she decide to go to Bosnia. She can feel the Bosnian disdain for Serbs and Christians on her skin. She works there for several months until she is finally accosted by an Albanian man. She has to flee for her life, and ends up taking a boat to England . She falls in love with the boat owner Tommy. She leaves him when she gets to England. Later in England she will work at an escort club get abducted and raped.

The relationship builds as Chris goes there every night to hear her stories. The turning point happens when Chris gets drunk and shows up at her apartment. What happens after that I will let you read and find out.

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