Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $5.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The English Patient Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 29, 1992
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Haunting and harrowing, as beautiful as it is disturbing, The English Patient tells the story of the entanglement of four damaged lives in an Italian monastery as World War II ends. The exhausted nurse, Hana; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burn victim who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. In lyrical prose informed by a poetic consciousness, Michael Ondaatje weaves these characters together, pulls them tight, then unravels the threads with unsettling acumen.
A book that binds readers of great literature, The English Patient garnered the Booker Prize for author Ondaatje. The poet and novelist has also written In the Skin of a Lion, Coming Through Slaughter and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid; two collections of poems, The Cinnamon Peeler and There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do; and a memoir, Running in the Family.
From Publishers Weekly
A poet's sensitive, deep-seeing eye, a fluid, sensuous prose and imaginative juxtapositions of characters and events distinguish Canadian author Ondaatje's impressive novels ( Coming Through Slaughter ; In the Skin of a Lion ; etc.). Here again he brings together disparate characters whose lives intersect at a crucial moment in history, and introduces real-life figures who add dimension and credibility to the story. The four people who take shelter in an abandoned villa in Italy during the final days of WW II are in retreat from a world gone mad; each of them is bent on protecting painful memories and pondering irreplaceable losses. The mysterious "English patient" has been horribly burned while parachuting into the Libyan desert; his face unrecognizable and his identity unknown, he gradually reveals his tragic story through the prompting of David Caravaggio, a professional thief and former spy whose hands and spirit have been maimed by Nazi torturers. Caravaggio has come to the villa in search of Hana, a woman who is nursing the burned man, whom Caravaggio has known since her childhood in Toronto. Close to emotional breakdown herself, dry-souled Hana is nourished by her love for Kip, a Singh demolitions expert whose perilous craft reflects the fragility of all their lives. Each is "playing a game of secrets," which Ondaatje reveals in a suspenseful narrative whose gripping scenes (a desert sandstorm; the defusing of live bombs) call to mind the sudden brilliance of subjects illuminated by Caravaggio's artist namesake, to whose work Ondaatje elliptically refers. If the events of the novel's closing pages seem forced, they underscore Ondaatje's message about the lingering effects of war's brutality.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
Top customer reviews
But if the book is difficult to read and understand, it is beautifully written. The language is lyrical. At the end of WWII, a young woman, a nurse, winds up living with three men in a bombed out wreck of an Italian Villa. One is The English Patient, hideously burned in a plane crash in Libya, and supposed to be dying. The other three are also victims of the war, although their wounds might be more difficult to see. The interactions of these four damaged survivors are woven into a tapestry as the novel unfolds, beautiful but, at the end, still difficult to comprehend.
Ondaatje writes with powerful and captivating intensity but due to his poetic style the text is often weirdly and uncomfortably fragmented and because of this I found the book to be a laborious read. This poeticism made it hard to connect to the characters even when their emotions were described in detail. The book is filled with beautiful and vivid descriptions but it seems that more attention was given to pretty writing than to a substantial plot. What I enjoyed most about The English Patient was Ondaatje's handling of the Identity theme. He makes you think about how identity is constantly changing and that a person's identity is a complex mix of their history, how they perceive themselves, how others perceive them and the lies they tell themselves in order to be able to live with themselves.
Quite a complex and intense novel that was initially difficult to find a reading rhythm with, the switching back and forth with the characters and events. Parts of the story I fell into, the writing was beautiful, the descriptions of the environment, the differing cultures.
Damaged and vulnerable characters, a mystery, love and devotion and a setting that appealed greatly. Requires some patience but well worth the effort.
In the movie, the story revolves around the love affair between Almasy [The so-called English Patient] and a married woman. That is the core of the story. In the book, the story rambles between a cast of characters, all traumatised by the war, one way or the other. The story of Almasy is simply one of the threads that holds all the other characters in that time and place.
To be honest, if I hadn't seen the movie first, I'm not sure I'd be as fond of the book as I am. I'd recommend that anyone wanting to read this book should approach it with as few pre-conceptions as possible.
I am not sure that this is a book I would read again, as it wasn't what I normally look for in stories.
(but other people may have loved it - this is my opinion only)
Most recent customer reviews
Well written, just enough detail, not a hair too much.
Now I want to watch the movie!
Sometimes confusing when author is jumping back and forth from one character to another without names, but falling into right places in awhile.