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Warlight (Hardcover)

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n 1945, World War II casts its shadow over London. The rubble of bombed out buildings is everywhere, but the house in Ruvigny Gardens has been spared. Here we meet fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, the voice of Michael Ondaatje’s captivating novel. At the outset, we learn his father has accepted a job in Singapore for an unspecified time, and his mother, Rose, is packing up, preparing to join him later. Nathaniel learns that he and his sister, Rachel, are to be left in the care of Walter, ‘the third floor lodger,’ a quiet, mysterious man the children call The Moth. They are surprisingly accepting of this arrangement, but this is what children do who feel powerless, and they quickly adapt to their new circumstances and to a house that now  “pulsed like a hive” with Moth’s dubious friends. But when Rachel, rummaging around in the basement, discovers her mothers trunk, carefully packed but left behind, she confronts Walter. There is no comfort in his response. For Rachel, it is a betrayal she will never forgive; and for Nathaniel it is a mystery that he will spend his life trying to unravel. Who is this woman that is their mother? Why did she leave them? What was her secret life in the war? And, who are her enemies that seek revenge and impart the undercurrent of danger that lurks beneath the story. The reader is with Nathaniel every step of the way as he reaches into the dim-lit past to uncover the truth, searching out clues through facts, memories and imagination.  Beautifully crafted, full of characters that leap off the page, this is storytelling at its best

— Sheila Daley

May 2018 Indie Next List

“With his usual virtuosity, master storyteller Michael Ondaatje delivers a mysterious, shimmering new coming-of-age novel. Warlight is the unexpected story of two teenagers abandoned by their enigmatic parents in post-war London. Casually watched over by a dodgy cast of characters - petty criminals, opera singers, and panting greyhounds - Nathaniel and Rachel try to make sense of their new world while struggling to define their parents' shadowy wartime pasts. Years later, Nathaniel embarks on a quest to discover the disturbing truth, and his own unwitting part in it. Balancing poignance with surprising comic touches, Warlight is a stellar addition to the Ondaatje canon.”
— Chrysler Szarlan, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA



From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

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.

About the Author

MICHAEL ONDAATJE is the author of several award-winning novels, as well as a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. Among other accolades, his novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize, and Anil's Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Michael Ondaatje lives in Toronto, Canada.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525521198
ISBN-10: 0525521194
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 8th, 2018
Pages: 304
Language: English

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by Dr. Radut