A fascinating and moving novel
- Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch
Towards the end of World War II, several people who have been damaged physically and / or emotionally by the war live for a while in an old Italian villa. Hannah, a Canadian nurse, has lost everyone she loved and now takes care of a badly burned patient, supposedly an Englishman suffering from amnesia. They are joined by Carava... Towards the end of World War II, several people who have been damaged physically and / or emotionally by the war live for a while in an old Italian villa. Hannah, a Canadian nurse, has lost everyone she loved and now takes care of a badly burned patient, supposedly an Englishman suffering from amnesia. They are joined by Caravaggio, a thief and spy for the Allies who was tortuted and crippled when he was caught by the Italians. Then a sapper, a young Sikh (Indian) named Kip, moves in, too. It's his job to defuse mines and bombs in the area, a job that could cost his life any second - and at the same time the people he's working for are disrciminating against him because he's coloured. A tender romance between Kip and Hannah starts, and all the while, the English patient tells about his past and how he ended up here. Before the war he was a desert explorer who fell in love with a married woman. This forbidden affair, combined with the beginning war in the North African desert, led to a terrible tragedy... This is not a simple book to read because several stories are interwoven and they are not told in a linear way - the story jumps back and forth in time and moves between characters and places. As a result, it's comparatively difficult to follow and it certainly helps to read it more than once if you want to fully appreciate it. That being said, I found it utterly beautiful, deeply moving, very intelligent. It's a novel that gives you a lot to feel and to think about regarding war, love, possessiveness, racism, colonialism, art and many other things. Many scenes stay with you. It has been made into a film - and a good one - but so much has been shortened from it that it doesn't achieve the same impact and depth. This is simply one of the best novels I've ever read.
The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje's three previous novels have each been met with the highest praise: for their startling narrative inventiveness, the richness of their imagery and emotion, and the spellbinding quality of their language. When In the Skin of a Lion was published in 1987, Carolyn Kizer, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called Ondaatje "a beautiful writer... brilliantly gifted". And Tom Clark wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that "Ondaatje handles fiction with the deceptive touch of a magician". Now, with The English Patient, he gives us his most stunningly original and lyric novel yet. During the final moments of World War II, in a deserted Italian villa, four people come together: a young nurse, her will broken, all her energy focussed on her last, dying patient, a man in whom she has seen something "she wanted to learn, to grow into and hide in"... the patient: an unknown Englishman, survivor of a plane crash, his mind awash with a life's worth of secrets and passions ... a thief whose "skills" have made him one of the war's heroes, and one of its casualties ... an Indian soldier in the British army, an expert at bomb disposal whose three years at war have taught him that "the only thing safe is himself". Slowly, they begin to reveal themselves to each other, the stories of their pasts and of the present unfolding in scene after haunting scene, taking us into the Sahara, the English countryside, down the streets of London during the Blitz, into the makeshift army hospitals of Italy, and through the battered gardens and rooms of the villa. And with these stories, Ondaatje weaves a complex tapestry of image and emotion, recollection and observation: the paths and details offour diverse lives caught and changed and now inextricably connected by the brutal, improbable circumstances of war.
Michael Ondaatje wurde 1943 in Sri Lanka geboren, ist holländisch-tamilisch-singhalesischer Abstammung und lebt heute in Kanada. Seit 1971 unterrichtet er am Glendon College der York University (Toronto) Gegenwartsliteratur. Seine Bücher wurden mehrfach mit dem höchsten Kanadischen Literaturpreis ausgezeichnet, und für seinen Roman "Der englische Patient" erhielt er 1992 den Booker-Preis.