Warlight - by Michael Ondaatje
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Binding: Hardcover / Paperback
Pub Date: May 08, 2018
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.
"The word [warlight] aptly describes the atmosphere of this haunting, brilliant novel . . . set in Britain in the decades after WWII. . . . Mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje's best work yet."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A lyrical mystery. . . . Ondaatje's shrewd character study plays out in a smart, sophisticated drama, one worth the long wait for fans of wartime intrigue."
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
" Warlight is Ondaatje in classic form: elegant, playful and striving to connect."
-- Toronto Star
"Warlight possesses many of Ondaatje's signature strengths: indelible images and a deep exploration of memory's mindscape."
-- Quill and Quire
"The poetic use of natural imagery in Warlight will keep readers ruminating on how easily the world around us adapts to human foibles. . . . Do we need to obtain answers, this novel asks, or might we learn to relish ambiguity? In a book made lush through layers of experience instead of description, the latter feels possible."
-- Los Angeles Times
"[Ondaatje] casts a magical spell, as he takes you into his half-lit world of war and love, death and loss, and the dark waterways of the past."
-- New York Review of Books
" Warlight is a quiet new masterpiece from Michael Ondaatje. . . . An elegaic thriller [with] the immediate allure of a dark fairy tale. In Warlight, all is illuminated, at first dimly then starkly, but always brilliantly."
-- The Washington Post