The English Patient by Michael Ondaantje

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

From the beginning this book, The English Patient, surrounds us in an atmosphere totally unique, placing, unequivocally, Michael Ondaantje in the category of writers of great exception.

[Not a valid template]

Placed somewhere at the end of World War II, in Florence, the action combines two distinct narrative threads, constantly alternating the past with the present, always leaving the future prey to the uncertainty. Taking refuge in an abandoned house and partially destroyed by bombing, the four characters in whose life history we will be ​​witnesses, all share similar existential drama, being however so different. At the modest shelter offered by the cold walls of the abandoned villa, one of the many ruins left behind by the flame of war, plays, among others, the tragedy of two love stories – one at the present, another in the past.

The English Patient is not in any way just a romance novel and in no case is a novel about war. It is a novel about people, a novel of contrasts, of the lost and found identities, of the uprooted, of both lost and wandering. Being part of different cultures with different pasts, with dreams, aspirations, different dramas, the four characters are closely interconnected by threads so complicated and intricate of life. Perhaps one of the bets things this book has to teach us is that difference and diversity mean nothing in the face of adversity, and even that our diversity should be celebrated and embraced. People who’ve had access to higher education will be no different from simple people in difficult situations, drama touches us all just the same. While indeed the lives of people with higher education and those of simple people can be led differently, how we react in the face of destruction or chaos is not that different. This is just one of the things that The English Patient makes you think about, and about human interrelations in general. That they are complicated, we all know; how we should react to most of them? This is something we must all ponder and reflect on.