The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This feels like a classic piece of literature, one of those core foundation books taught in American Lit classes at liberal arts colleges. Perhaps it's because of the all classical references Michael Ondaatje places in the mouths of his character the English patient. Perhaps it is in the storytelling, concerning itself with the cerebral and almost entirely devoid of action except in the backstories. The poetic choice of words themselves may be the cause. Perhaps it's the World War II Italian countryside setting that draws one back and ages these pages.
I don't know. I stopped trying to know long before I finished The English Patient. I just let those words wash over me like a bath for the mind.
Here is a lengthy summary if you care to know more, but I would skip it and just dive right into the book: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/english...
Though I think this is a brilliant novel, I wasn't entirely blown away. It drags in places and is a tad too self-consciously literary for my tastes these days. And yet, despite these personal taste flaws, I still have to give this five stars. It's too good to be lumped into with the sea of four star books I've read, many of which are quite good, but few of which attain the unearthly feeling one gets when reading The English Patient.
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