Sunday, 19 August 2018

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

"This almost anonymous person, balanced awkwardly, holding on to her own safety. Already incognito".

I am one of those people, and I feel like I'm in the minority, who didn't really enjoy The English Patient,  and yet I loved this. Here is a novel which is awash thematically with numerous threads. The idea of identity, of family, a spy novel, a coming of age story, the strange relationship between parents and their children; there is a lot going on here, That is not to disparage the mix of conceits in any way. Rather, its thematic richness adds to the appreciation of the text,or at least, it did for me.

There is perhaps a sense of remove from the characters, which is perhaps a necessity due to the enigmatic nature of portions of their lives. Is the narrator a believable one? What is really happening? Where are the missing parents of Nathaniel and Rachel and who are their "guardians"? Here lies the mystery framework that really draws you in. IN fact the whole novel was reminiscent of a 1940s Hitchcock film, well in my mind anyway.

I think this one would make a great bookclub book, because I have a sense that it would elicit a very different response from different readers and that always makes for interesting conversations. Also, if you are one of those people who likes to read the Booker prize would be contenders, well get on board - this one has made the long list.

Have you noticed the crazy world we live in today has really nefarious overtones that mirror the thirties and forties? I think that's why fiction set in those times resonates, unfortunately, so well today. Let's hope we learn from history - not that anyone ever learns from history - my dating life is a testament to that. If people read more instead
of indulging in hateful speeches in parliament, and/or the internet, perhaps we wouldn't be feeling this way. Just saying - rant over.

5 out of 5 is espionage genetic?








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