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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099542025
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $28.99


Stories from an English Village

A funny and heartbreaking new book from one of Britain's favourite and bestselling writers.

A Frenchman once pointed out to Louis de Bernières that Britain was the most exotic country in Europe, adding that it was 'an immense lunatic asylum'. Casting his mind back to the village in southern Surrey where he grew up in the sixties and seventies, but plagued by a novelist's inability to stick to the truth, Louis de Bernieres brings us in Notwithstanding stories of a vanished England which will delight readers of his much-loved novels.

The English village was a place where a lady might dress as a man in plus fours and spend her time shooting squirrels with a twelve bore, or keep a vast menagerie in her house. A retired general might give up wearing clothes, a spiritualist might live in a cottage with her sister and the ghost of her husband, and people might think it quite natural to confide in a spider that lives in a potting shed.

De Bernières’s characters roam through the book, appearing in each others' stories and painting a picture of an entire community. Here we find the atmosphere of those times as it was in the countryside. Notwithstanding is not about an idyll that never was; it is about people who are worth remembering, whose lives are worth celebrating, and who would otherwise have been forgotten.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099542025
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $28.99

About the Author

Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernières is the bestselling author of Captain Corellis Mandolin, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best Book in 1995. His most recent books are The Dust That Falls From Dreams, Birds Without Wings and A Partisans Daughter, a collection of stories, Notwithstanding, and two collections of poetry, Imagining Alexandria and Of Love and Desire.

Also by Louis de Bernieres

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Praise for Notwithstanding

“A delightful collection...exquisitely told”

Clare Colvin, Daily Mail

“Comic, benignly forgiving and shot through with threads of nostalgic regret”


“A timely examination of the charming and, at time, heart-wrenchingly sad aspects of English village life...testament to the rude health of the author's own imagination”

Adam O'Riordan, Financial Times

“The creator of Captain Corelli is fond of an exotic setting and he has found one in his own backyard... The stories are sketches of lives that settle into the atmosphere of a place and make it unique”

Kate Saunders, The Times

“Notwithstanding will sell, well, like a novel." "...collection whose stories are so closely linked that it can be marketed and...reviewed like a novel." "De Bernières has a big heart...”

Patrick Gale, Independent

“There is more sadness in Notwithstanding than its nostalgic, celebratory intentions would allow, and it is this which gives the book its light and shade ... De Bernieres' characters jolly themselves on through, but it is his insights in the realities of the lives, delivered with kindness and poignancy, which makes them more than caricatures”

Susan Mansfield, Scotland on Sunday

“In these stories de Bernieres casts a loveing eye on the world we have lost and invites you to share its intimacies”

Allan Massie, Scotsman

“The experience of reading this collection is rather like being wrapped in a tartan blanket and handed a nice mug of cocoa”

Ian Sansom, The Guardian

“These stories are charming”

Alastair Mabbott, Sunday Herald

“Meticulously done...genuinely poignant and funny”

D J Taylor, The Spectator

“De Bernieres rediscovers his charm... deliciously evocative of a world we have lost”

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

“It is the kind of collection that reminds us that we don't read enough short stories”

Angus Clarke, The Times

“There is no novelist who better understands the cqanince mindset than De Bernieres ... 'It's all quite charming”


“Bernieres paints an affectionate picture of village life”

Daily Express

“Not just very funny, but makes you oddly proud to be British”

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph

“Where do you begin with a book that is pretty much perfect of its kind - if indeed it has a 'kind'?...It is rich in human in rural rumness , often laugh out loud funny, but with a thread of deep nostalgia and regret running though it...I can't recommend this book warmly enough...you will not want to lend your copy to anyone because it will take its place on your bedside table for regular re-reading, as it is on mine.”

Susan Hill, The Lady

“The literary equivalent of comfort food”

Sunday Herald

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