The English Patient

by Michael Ondaatje | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0330330276 Global Overview for this book
Registered by minx2012 on 10/24/2008
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by minx2012 on Friday, October 24, 2008
Confusing, captivating and thoroughly worth reading.
A tale of four shell-shocked characters hiding away in an Italian villa at the end of the Second World War, all wounded and changed forever by their experiences, some more obviously than others.
The story slips beautifully between threads just as the English Patient himself slips in and out of morphine-induced visions of the desert, Caravaggio and Kip arrive almost without fanfare, as if they have been there all along, with their own tales of loss and methods for keeping themselves just that little bit sane.

It took me a while to get into this.
I found it in the local Oxfam bookshop on a lovely day out, when I realised I didn't have anything to read and felt it would be a shame not to sit out in the sun, or over a cup of coffee (a rare indulgence) at some nice little local cafe, and I got a good start on it. But then life intervened, and other books I was also reading came first when I got home, and although it came away with me on holiday I read more of it on the journey home than I'd managed the whole two weeks I was away. I finally gave it the attention it deserved once back. It's a book which, while it doesn't suffer for being read in bits, is far better when the memory slips, intrigues and leaps through time are part of a sustained attack rather than as a result of being read only a few pages at a time.

If I picked up nothing else from those few attempts to read while away, it was that the prose is indeed beautiful, spare and stark but evocative all the same - some of it is like a poem in long form. If you can't follow the story, just absorb the text - and who knows, perhaps the story will come to you in the end.

Journal Entry 2 by minx2012 at Corfton Road Family Practice in Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Released 13 yrs ago (10/29/2008 UTC) at Corfton Road Family Practice in Ealing, Greater London United Kingdom

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In the waiting room, trying to dry out slightly after being put in a bag with a leaky bottle of water...

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