The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje

the english patient

The English Patient is enchanting. A profound and captivating Booker Prize winning novel.

The story brims with sensuality and meanders through beautifully written words, ultimately searching for the identity of all involved – not just the mysterious patient in the bed upstairs. This is no straightforward plot.

Each of the four main characters has their own pain and journey to share, unique and meaningful stories in their own right. Featuring Italy, England, Egypt, Canada, India.

Deservedly and unsurprisingly, The English Patient has also won the 2018 Golden Booker Prize.

And if you’ve seen the film, forget it! the novel is is far richer. A must read.

“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.” 


The final curtain is closing on the Second World War and in an abandoned Italian village Hana, a nurse, tends to her sole remaining patient. Rescued from a burning plane, the anonymous Englishman is damaged beyond recognition and haunted by painful memories. 

The story traces the intersection of four damaged lives. Hana, the exhausted nurse. Caravaggio, the maimed thief, Caravaggio. Kip, the wary sapper. Each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

The English Patient

My book #34 in 2018

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


GENRE: Literary

PAGES: 320

AWARDS: The Golden Man Booker Prize 2018, Man Booker 1992 Winner

WHAT’S NEXT: Referenced throughout as the patient’s commonplace book, I’m now interested to read The Histories by Herodotus. And I want to start my own commonplace book, naturally.

“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.” 

My 2018 Reading List


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