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Bardot's Comet Paperback – August 26, 2011
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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Apart from artistically and deeply described characters, you will find important facts scattered throughout the novel – the birth-marks of a huge, complicated body of the human psychology. And that is a real charm of the story.
The novel is very informative due to a great deal of scientific knowledge. Mathematics, numerology and astronomy cause the birth of new questions: Can changing a name alter one’s destiny? Can a comet bring the death? Has numerology anything to do with the fate? Finding the answers to these questions becomes just as interesting as revealing the truth about the murderer.
One of the most interesting and original decisions in the novel is the two-narrator concept. It is narrated by Leonardo Bari, the father, and by the Police Commissioner who finds the father’s journal after his death. The father’s narrative is very emotional, self-doubting, filled with love, whereas the Police Commissioner’s narrative is more logical and factual, as he has investigated the crime and interviewed all suspects. Thus, the novel appears to be a feminist story, but from a man’s perspective.
The climax of the novel is the part where the father, Leonardo Bari, discovers the link between his daughter and ancient Greek Hypatia. Unbelievable coincidence with the names and characters of Prudence’s surroundings and ancient society members provides a clue for Bari to approach the truth about the crime.
Diversity of characters, the confusion of male and female identities (with the unisex look), controversial situations, and a wide range of emotions represented – makes the reader feel as if wandering over a field in the moonlight. There you meet different creatures, some of them – clear to see, some of them shaded in darkness, some of them warm and beautiful, others – ugly and frightening. You keep reading and wandering through the strange field and then suddenly something flashes in the sky, brightness strikes the air and a comet falls down to the field. And you see the death of gorgeous beauty. This is the ending of the novel, revealing the murderer of an “extraordinary person, a passionate scientist, a woman of intense will, a creative and mathematical genius beyond comparison and a most attractive woman” - Prudence Bari. You are shocked when you find the motive of the crime, but I don’t want to be a spoiler.
I also like the fact that it is set in the sixties and Nicolls is true to the period. Especially in her description of clothes, music, and films. My two favourite scenes are the lunar landing and the conversation about comets and dinosaur extinction. I also like the scenes when she is interviewed by a newspaper journalist and when she is doing an interview-style television program because in both we get to see the real nature of the main character, Prudence Bari.
It is even more beautifully written than her first two novels. I love her easy-to-read style, yet every page has some issue worth debating or thinking about. It certainly made me reflect on my attitudes and beliefs. It is exceptionally thought-provoking.