Perfect Prose #4: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently looking for appropriate readings for our wedding this summer. I do, of course, want to draw on lovely passages from literature, and this is one that I really like – it gets to the heart of what I think relationships are all about – perhaps it isn’t a terribly romantic view, but in another sense it is totally romantic.


“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have 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, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. 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.”


An extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres, published by Vintage.

6 thoughts on “Perfect Prose #4: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

    • Thank you! I do think it is a beautiful quote and does really capture what I think long-term relationships are about. We are thinking of having this one & e.e. cummings’ ‘i carry your heart’. My reservations are that they are probably read at a lot of weddings, but it’s hard to find anything unique!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I suppose there’s not a great deal about weddings which are unique 🙂 so I wouldn’t let that put you off. ee cummings is a good choice too. I’m sure whatever you choose, as long as it’s meaningful to you, will be beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

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