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October 21, 2016

Looking Back - The English Patient


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Fiction
1993 Vintage (first published in 1992)
Finished in December 1996
Rating: 1/5 (Poor)

Publisher's Blurb:

With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

My Original Notes (1996):

What a struggle this was to read! I'm still not sure if I can even say that I liked it. It was a very strange story and I'm sure there was more to it than I got. I'd like to see the movie now. Maybe it will help clarify the book.

My Current Thoughts:

I did go on to watch the movie and was still just as confused as when I finished the novel! I haven't read anything else by Ondaatje and doubt I ever will, as none of his books appeal to me at all.

14 comments:

  1. LOL! I feel the same way, though I never did finish either the book or the movie...

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    1. JoAnn, I might have even slept through part of the movie... :)

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  2. I tried reading this on my own and gave up and, then, my book club picked it so I felt like I had to read it. I did get through the whole book, but, like you, found it a challenge and didn't think I understood it all when I was done.

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    1. Kathy, I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only well-read reader who struggled through this book!

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  3. It's been a very long time, but I could swear that I read it and liked it. Maybe it is in my print journals. I'll spend some time looking.

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    1. Nan, now why doesn't this surprise me? ;)

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  4. I just picked up Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, another of his earlier books. I had the chance to get The English Patient but passed it by. I'm glad now that I did - and hope that the one I did buy isn't like it.

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    1. Debbie, you'll have to come back and let me know what you think of In the Skin of a Lion. I'm curious. But not curious enough to try it! :)

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  5. This is a book that I vaguely remember but as to whether I actually read it or not I don't know. My book journal isn't as old as I wish it was, so lots and lots of books I've read have no reviews. So listen to me, young people: start reviewing your books now!

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    1. Debbie, I'm really having fun going back through my old book journals and sharing my thoughts about those old reads here on my blog. I'm about to wrap up 1996 and will be able to get started on 1997 before this year ends. I wish I had kept a journal back when I was a teenager!

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  6. I think I liked the movie but the book was definitely a struggle. I also remember being just lost at times.

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    1. Iliana, it was certainly a confusing book/movie! However, Ralph Fiennes was easy on the eyes in the film. ;)

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  7. I adore the movie - I've seen it many times and finally feel like I'm able to follow it fully. Having seen it several times before reading the book did help me a lot in enjoying the book, I think.

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    1. I wonder if I would enjoy the movie now, Lisa. Might be fun to give it a try after all these years.

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I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!