Warlight

Warlight

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient : a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself--shadowed and luminous at once--we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.
Publisher: New York : McClelland & Stewart, 2018.
ISBN: 9780771073793
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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p
PeterWMC
Oct 29, 2018

Brilliant story. Begins with a childhood mystery which resolves in a very satisfactory way. Superb writing. Captures post war UK, where I spent my childhood, very well. Recommended.

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brangwinn
Oct 26, 2018

Ondaatje’s opening sentence is one of the outstanding first words of a novel. Being left in the care of strangers after World War II in London, a brother and a sister, lead any unusual life, and it isn’t until their teen and adult lives are the puzzle pieces put together.

DPL_Graham Oct 24, 2018

Have you ever tried to clearly remember your childhood friends and the distinct individuals you saw day-to-day? People who would come and go for reasons that were beyond your understanding? In childhood, the people surrounding us are often painted as caricatures in our mind and it is only later in life that we start to think of them as real people and not puppet moving on a stage around us. Then, we often just remember fleeting stories and moments that stand the test of time and affect us deep into adulthood.

The fog of war drifts in and out during “Warlight”, a masterful piece of almost historical fiction. Lose yourself in dreamy landscapes, darkness, smuggling, mystery and danger that always follows but rarely reveals itself in post-WWII London.

Nathaniel and his sister Rachel find themselves parentless and lost to the traditional world. Their mother packs a trunk to leave for some unknown destination. Mother seems to be there and yet gone, somewhere, with fleeting moving and returning but always at the peripheral. Nathaniel's world is filled with nicknames, "The Moth" and "The Darter." He moves over strange roads and waterways, surrounded by darkness and greyhounds and wondering about his mother's whereabouts. He is guided by criminally interesting individuals instead of parents as he grows.

Everything is cast in dream-like "Warlight" that illuminates sharply but leaves long sections of shadow for every article that has light cast upon it. The beautiful prose and compelling vignettes make Nathaniel’s life as a child, and then as a young man, discovering the truth of his past hard to put down and difficult to stop pondering. Michael Ondaatje shows why he is a master of the literary fiction craft in this beautiful novel.

d
dankelley
Oct 18, 2018

Poetic writing, story goes back in forth in time so you have to read closely.

j
jacekwalkowicz
Oct 15, 2018

war or peace ++

poetry in home coming

j
jmkwalkow
Oct 06, 2018

war or peace

b
beetlebaily
Sep 30, 2018

superb book. But don't ask me why. It just is. It is the writing above all. It is also distressing dealing with the after effects of war, the nether world of spies, the effect on families.

j
Jersey_Girl
Sep 21, 2018

See Linda Marion's comment below. My feelings exactly..."Round and round it goes....where's the plot nobody knows!" To para-phrase.

l
Ljparker5807
Sep 18, 2018

I agree that the prose is beautifully written, but the story overall was not satisfying for me. It did seem to just circle around and never come to any real conclusion. Maybe that was the point since the son certainly went around in circles with his mother and was never able to resolve his questions about her life and his father.

s
sgcf
Aug 31, 2018

[edit]
An intriguing read which, at times, was a page-turning pseudo spy-thriller but, in typical Ondaatje style, raised far more complex issues of family constellations, the effects of war, and the stories we tell that become our memories. The young protagonist is driven to fill in the gaps left when his mother disappeared and his work becomes solving that puzzle. "We order our lives with barely held stories. As if we have been lost in a confusing landscape …sewing it all together in order to survive, incomplete" (p.284).
The story bubbles with curiously peculiar characters who create an impact on the protagonist, many of whom will come full circle.

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SZorn
Jul 24, 2018

SZorn thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

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