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The English Patient

A Novel
Ondaatje, Michael, 1943- (Book - 1993 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The English Patient


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The Booker Prize-winning novel, now a critically acclaimed major motion picture, starring Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe and Kristin Scott Thomas. With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminates this book like flashes of heat lightening.
Authors: Ondaatje, Michael, 1943-
Statement of Responsibility: by Michael Ondaatje
Title: The English patient
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Vintage Books,, 1993
Edition: 1st Vintage International ed
Characteristics: 305 p. ;,21 cm.
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Report This Jan 17, 2014
  • molmil8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is the book that made me fall in love with CanLit. So romantic and beautiful, in so many ways. Read it 3 times. Saw the movie many years later, it does do the book justice (the soundtrack CD is great), worth renting assuming you have read the book first, of course. As a rule, I don't like too much description, but this book is exceptional, you will be in the desert, in post WW2 Europe. The characters are sharply defined and become so real as you read.

Report This Jun 07, 2013
  • joanniek rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a favourite of mine. I love all of his books, but I like this one for it's imagery and characters.

One of my very favourite books - the language is amazing.

Report This Jul 12, 2012
  • smilegirl24 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Wonderfully poetic and thoughtful, The English Patient is a story of love and friendship in an Italian villa during WWII. Michael Ondaatje examines loyalty, lust, and cultural differences while drawing the reader into a beautifully complex novel.

Report This Dec 28, 2011
  • hermlou rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Ondaatje sets the stage: It is at the end of WWII, and a badly burned airman is lying in an Italian villa which has been converted to a hospital. A Canadian nurse cares for him, and an old friend of her father arrives, also a sapper. The author takes the reader back into each of their lives in almost a dreamlike manner. It's good to just relax and let his artistry take us back and forth between towns and decades.

Report This Jun 09, 2011
  • cafegrrl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of my favourite books! The images created by Ondaatje's words are powerful and poetic... at times I could almost hear and smell the scenes I was reading about. I tend to read e-books or library books, and am purging the number of books on my shelves, but my ratty old dog-eared copy of The English Patient, signed by Michael Ondaatje when he came to town for a reading, has pride of place and isn't going anywhere.

Report This Jan 21, 2011
  • kwsmith rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Ondaatje's strikingly poetic style can create beautiful images but ultimately distanced me from this novel's already thin story. In particular, I was often perplexed by Ondaatje's bizarre metaphors: "He knew he was now a king...it was strange to him. As if he had been handed a large suit of clothes that he could roll around in and whose sleeves would drag behind him." Still, if you value poetic lyricism more than story, you might love this book.

Report This May 16, 2010
  • mbazal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best books I've ever read. The plot is unpredictable and the writing style is beautiful.

Report This May 10, 2010
  • unreg_71383400 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of Ondaatje's most beautiful and accessible works.

one of my favorite books. and, remarkably, one of the few that i think has been really successfully adopted for the screen http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116209/

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Report This May 16, 2010
  • mbazal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

mbazal thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Report This May 16, 2010
  • mbazal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The English Patient tells the stories of four individuals whose lives come together at the end of World War II in an abandoned Italian villa: Hana, a 20-year-old nurse from Canada who seeks refuge from the proliferation of wartime death; Kirpal (Kip) Singh, a 25-year-old "sapper," or bomb dismantler, from India who is a member of the British Army; David Caravaggio, a friend of Hana's father who worked as a spy during the war and was severely disfigured while a captive of the Germans; and Hana's patient, a severely burned man whose identity is the mystery at the heart of this novel. Each of these characters finds him or herself far away from home, displaced by the war, and each of them finds a quiet refuge in the abandoned Italian villa to reconstruct their lives. While Hana and Kip eventually develop a romantic relationship, Caravaggio becomes more and more obsessed with the patient's true identity: Caravaggio believes that the patient may not be English, as everyone assumed, but a Hungarian who worked as a spy for the Germans. Interspersed into the story of the lives of these characters together in Italy are each character's clear recollections of the past, including the patient's hallucinatory memories of a torrid love affair, of desert exploration, and of friendship and betrayal. The novel becomes a collage of memories that explores themes of war, nationality, identity, loss, and love.

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Report This May 16, 2010
  • mbazal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

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Report This Sep 05, 2012
  • solasistim4 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our names, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself

Report This Sep 05, 2012
  • solasistim4 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our names, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself

Report This Sep 05, 2012
  • solasistim4 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our names, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself

Report This May 16, 2010
  • mbazal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"My darling. I'm waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I'm horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there'd be the sun. I'm afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we've entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we've hidden in - like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you'll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That's what I've wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I'm writing in the darkness." - Katharine Clifton

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