Warlight

Warlight

Book - 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: Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, ©2018.
ISBN: 9780771073809
9780771073786
Characteristics: 289 pages ;,22 cm.

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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... Read More »


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MaryJoSchifsky
Jul 08, 2019

Excellent--"warlight" is that of a blue light on a bridge during bombing raids, directing barges
Young man w sister, Dad leaves, then Mom--he learns, as an adult that his Mom works in espionage and is very good at it. She's assassinated, he works in musty files learning who she is/was/what she did. His exper with those she provided to care for him and his sister are the core of the book. Delightful. Evocative. Complete

2
29Rowena
Jul 01, 2019

A beautiful book. I loved the writing and the stories woven around activities during war time England and other surprising things too! It’s the kind of book that stays with me for days and likely for weeks afterwards.

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Papadog
Jun 22, 2019

Great writing, great characters, (with ones such as the Moth, the Dipper...you can just feel who and what they are through the writing),...and no surprise from Ondaatje. Intriguing story, but above all it's the writing that kept me hooked.

l
LucasHill
Jun 16, 2019

A grand adventure novel that literally grabs you from the first line, lures you through the history of Britain in WWII, and dares you with the notion that life changes all of us, despite our wishes to conserve what we are in any given moment.

n
nalahblueberry5
Apr 05, 2019

Gives you a good feel for living in a time of war where things are not real cut and dried. Some beautiful imagery. I like Ondaatje.

p
poodlegirl
Mar 04, 2019

This might be the only book I've ever given 2 stars to. It was excruciatingly SLOW! Not a spoiler but only the ending was interesting to me...and, not that much.

j
jeanie123
Feb 21, 2019

I have always loved Michael Ondaatje's beautiful style and the rolling rhythm of his poetry and prose. This book certainly did not fall short of the mastery I expect from him. The story is intriguing and heartbreaking in turns and it reveals itself like eating an artichoke; layer after layer of toughness and tenderness. The titular theme of warlight is pervasive throughout the book and the imagery of misty, foggy London in the blackout of the war is such a great mirror for the underbelly worlds of crime and espionage.

p
psharpe
Feb 06, 2019

I loved this book. At one point I realized I didn't want it to end.

2
21221018293347
Jan 26, 2019

I tried this book twice and just couldn't get into the rhythm of it.

b
booknrrd
Jan 16, 2019

In Warlight, a man recalls how when he was a teenager, after WWII was over, his parents left him and his sister ostensibly for a year. His father's job was taking him to Singapore, and the kids were to remain in London in boarding school. Their third floor lodger, who Nathaniel and Rachel call "The Moth", is to be their holiday caregiver and point person in London. The parents depart. Nathaniel and his sister hate boarding at school and decide to live with the lodger. Nathaniel finds evidence that maybe their mother didn't go with their father to Singapore. It is very mysterious, and the lodger is somewhat mysterious and his friends are interesting. Slowly it becomes clear that their mother is involved in something or was involved in something during the war. Things come to a head. In the second half of the novel, Nathaniel is an adult trying to find out more about his mother's wartime activities.

Warlight refers to the dim light used to guide traffic in times of war, and is a perfect title for this moodily lit novel. When I first finished this, I was just relieved to be done. It was beautifully written, but left me cold. Over the last couple days though it has grown on me. The prose does seem pretentious at times, but it is wonderfully atmospheric. Its reflections on the nature of memory reminded me of Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending. The WWII spy angle reminded me of Transcription by Kate Atkinson.

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SZorn
Jul 24, 2018

SZorn thinks this title is suitable for 20 years and over

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