Staff review of Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

by |April 19, 2018

Warlight
by Michael Ondaatje
Review by Ben Hunter

Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight taps into the same magic you might have experienced while reading Ondaatje’s Booker winning The English Patient but within a wholly separate landscape. Both books work to pull you deeper and deeper into a world of displacement, longing and wonder.

Warlight begins after VE Day in 1945 in a quiet London neighbourhood where 14-year-old Nathaniel and his 15-year-old sister Rachel have been, without a great deal of fuss, abandoned by their parents and left in the care of a strange man known only as The Moth. This man is a complete enigma, but then again so were Nathaniel’s mother and father. Soon Nathaniel is drawn out of his adolescence and into a criminal world that thrives in the darkness and rubble of post-blitz England.

It’s a book that unfolds in layers of eloquently rendered uncertainty. Characters turn up unannounced, one after the next, ensuring any semblance of an ordinary youth slips away from Nathaniel. Everyone in this story is important, each contains multitudes, yet every one of them is mysterious.

We rejoin Nathaniel years later as he attempts to reconnect with those who’ve strayed away and put together the pieces of his youth. Walking through her empty house in Suffolk, he finds the mother that he longed for had a far darker and more complex life than was ever imagined. It completes an enthralling and sophisticated drama that will satisfy lovers of intrigue.

Warlight will delight both fans of the hugely successful The English Patient and newcomers to the rich and moving writing of Michael Ondaatje.

Warlightby Michael Ondaatje

Warlight

by Michael Ondaatje

A mesmerising new novel from the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient.

In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth...

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About the Contributor

Ben is a bookseller at Booktopia HQ. He reads a lot and writes a little. Cows are his spirit animal. He is an optimist. He loves pastry.

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