Nominated by me to read in the Cafe Deletterati reading group – I was hoping I enjoyed this Ondaatje as much as I’ve enjoyed his priors (that I’ve read) and also kind of in honor of his winning the Golden Booker Prize – 2018 – best in 50 years of Man Booker Prizes. for The English Patient which I read much to long ago to have reviewed here. I did enjoy it and I feel like I should read it again but … on to the new one.
by Michael Ondaatje
read by Steve West – 8h 36m
rating: 8 / contemporary fiction
(may read it again)
The book starts out as told by an unnamed 1st person narrator, Nathaniel Williams, who, with his sister Rachel, only two years older, are left alone in Nathanial’s 16th year with a strange man named Moth (their nickname for him). This is while their parents are away in the far east – or so the children were told.
Nathaniel is remembering this from some time in the future – how they get involved in apparently rather nefarious things – it is just post-wartime after all, and then there’s the aftermath of that.
The story unfolds and it’s not really clear what’s going on for a long time. Nathaniel certainly doesn’t know – a very naive but fairly sharp narrator. And when he’s older he realizes he doesn’t have all the pieces to his puzzle. So we don’t always really know what going on with the other people in our lives, even the important people – our families. And in the spy business during and after wartime, the questions of who is who and what’s going on gets tricky
Beautifully written, very atmospheric with tension tightening even when the plot seems to wander. The characters are shadowed but their pain is searing even through the fog.
I’m not sure I got everything the first time round – this book may need a 2nd reading . 🙂