THE ENGLISH PATIENT
The English Patient is a novel by Michael Ondaatje. Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka in 1943, moved to England in 1954, and settled in Canada in 1970. He is a Canadian poet and novelist. Ondaatje's work includes 13 books of poetry and 5 novels. Among them, The English Patient won him the Booker Prize. Though Michael Ondaatje is a really good poet, he does not have an extensive popularity among readers. Even after his novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an Oscar -winning film, his name has not been widely spread. The reason can be known after reading his works. The English Patient is not a novel which can arouse readers’ interests at the very beginning. It is bit difficult to read. Ondaatje spent 6 years on this beautiful novel. Just as Ondaatje said ‘perhaps you are not familiar with its form, and it may not contain some intention that anyone can understand, but it is necessary to leave some mystery. I refuse to explain it, which would undermine this book.’ The English Patient is more like a long poem. Its narrative style, as well as the anti-traditional structure makes his novels become beautiful, elegant and full of mystery. The novel gets rid of the constraints of time and space and edges away from the present to the past or the future. A seriously burned English accented anonym, his Canadian field nurse, a Canadian-Italian thief, and an Indian sapper in the British Army live in an Italian villa by the end of World War II. The four damaged people struggle with their painful memories and are full of the flashback about war, family and long lost love. The nameless, burn victim believe he can forget everything, as long as he conceal his identity. It turns out his beloved Katharine Clifton, wife of Geoffrey Clifton, still haunt and harrow him at every silent night after all. The call comes from the desert of Africa and the cave of swimmers he found, just like every piece...
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