The English Patient

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 6, 2011 - Fiction - 320 pages

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, this Golden Man Booker Prize–winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II.

The nurse Hana, exhausted by death, obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions—and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - addunn3 - LibraryThing

Very well written exploration of war, death, love. The patient is being cared for in Italy by a war-weary nurse. A sapper and a mysterious stranger are part of the interesting collection of people around the patient. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DanielSTJ - LibraryThing

This book didn't really do it for me. While it attempted to be literary and poignant, I felt that it got lost along the way. There were some nice phrases and poetic passages, but apart from this I ... Read full review

Contents

In Near Ruins
25
Sometime a Fire
67
South Cairo 19301938
131
Katharine
147
v1 A Buried Plane
159
In Situ
179
The Holy Forest
205
1x The Cave of Swimmers
227
August
263
Copyright

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Page 144 - Shine not in vain ; nor think, though men were none, That heaven would want spectators, God want praise. Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep. All these with ceaseless praise his works behold Both day and night : how often from the steep Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard Celestial voices to the midnight air, Sole, or responsive each to other's note, Singing their great Creator ? oft in bands While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk...
Page 93 - HE SAT, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam-Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher — the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah, that ' fire-breathing dragon/ hold the Punjab, for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot.
Page 286 - American, French, I don't care. When you start bombing the brown races of the world, you're an Englishman. You had King Leopold of Belgium and now you have fucking Harry Truman of the USA. You all learned it from the English.
Page 97 - I walked in a desert. And I cried, "Ah, God, take me from this place!" A voice said, "It is no desert.
Page 261 - 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. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography — to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings.
Page 94 - Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.
Page 48 - In the Pisa hospital she had seen the English patient for the first time. A man with no face. An ebony pool. All identification consumed in a fire.4 Common sense tells us that we distinguish one person from another by their appearances.
Page 93 - Claudius, and Nero, while they were in power, were falsified through terror, and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred. Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus — more particularly his last acts, then the reign of Tiberius, and all which follows, without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.
Page 141 - The ends of the earth are never the points on a map that colonists push against, enlarging their sphere of influence. On one side servants and slaves and tides of power and correspondence with the Geographical Society. On the other the first step by a white man across a great river, the first sight (by a white eye) of a mountain that has been there forever.

About the author (2011)

MICHAEL ONDAATJE is the author of six previous novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. The English Patient won the Booker Prize and the Golden Man Booker Prize, given in honor of the Prize's 50th anniversary; Anil's Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Michael Ondaatje now lives in Toronto.

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