Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

This is one of the cases of me seeing the movie before I read the book. And while everyone would argue that Nicolas Cage is a shitty actor, I for one disagree. In fact, I love Nicolas Cage. I adore him. He’s wonderful in his easily excitable, earnest way; a less cute Harrison Ford and a more neurotic Daniel Day-Lewis. `

But anyways, that was my perception of the lovably gently, romantic Antonio Corelli (and consequently the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS Penelope Cruz) so I went into this book with high hopes. Obviously, because it’s been made into a movie it’s obtained that “too cool” status in which everyone is expected to have read it, and ironically it’s now too “mainstream” to be taken seriously or read outside of “lighthearted fun.” But in all reality, it’s a novel with much more substance than most wartime romances (take Pearl Harbor, Atonement, etc) because it’s more about the intersection between the three most important emotional necessities: the need to fight, to love, and to create. I think that these three meet at a pointed juncture that is much more common and poignant than we give it credit for. Take any sort of artist; there is always inevitably the toil and frustration of creation; the incessant agony and displeasure of trying to bring to fruition one’s creative endeavors; but eventually this is meet with relief, pride, and agony. Any parent raising a child can tell you the same thing; trying to bring up a son or daughter to your personal expectations of the type of life you’d like your child to have is a horrible horrible process; especially because in those last few years of development, it’s pretty much a rite of passage for children to hate their parents.

It’s a trinity; for every thesis there is an equal yet opposite antithesis, that is led there by a type of energy. For all the love in the world there is always going to be hatred that is just as heated and passionate, and as humans we endeavor to use our creativity to breach the gap between them, to either neutralize the antithesis or to create at least some sort of balance between the two. I think that this passage tends to explain it really well:

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

With creativity we must cultivate those beginning feelings of being “in” love into something more permanent and stable, the act of loving someone day in, day out. Otherwise, if we rely on those temporary feelings, we’ll just find our love turn into what we fear most deeply; hate.


About Angela

Editor, bookbinder, and writer.

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