The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient
Photo credit: Wikipedia



Awards for The English Patient

Man Booker Prize 1992
Governor General’s Award 1992

I had great expectations when I started reading this book and I found it kind of boring from Page 1. Still I kept on reading and reading assuming that it will get interesting some time soon.. Big Mistake !!! Because it never did. And finally I decided that I will finish it off so that I can write a proper review.

The English Patient is mainly about a badly burned person with an English accent; he is beyond recognition and who cannot recall his personal details. Hana, the army nurse refuses to leave the almost destroyed hospital without her patient and thus end up living there alone. Carravaggio is an old friend of Hana’s father and he turns up at the hospital looking for Hana. Kirpal Singh is an Indian sapper who comes to the hospital one day in search of bombs attached in pianos during World War II. They all end up living in the same villa premises.

I loved the character Kirpal Singh referred as Kip and probably the only character I could make any sense out of this story. The main character – Hana, Caravaggio and of course the english patient remained a mystery through out the story.

The first half of the story is dedicated to Hana, the english patient and the arrival of Caravaggio and mostly about their life in the almost destroyed hospital. Kip is a Indian Sikh who still walks around wearing his turban and  he is specially trained in detecting unexploded mines and bombs. Kip comes to live in the almost destroyed villa  and eventually becomes an essential part of their daily life.

 The second half of the story tells you more about the English patient,his life and how he gets burned to this extend. And the identity of the patient is revealed through a series of stories narrated by him under the influence of morphine. Kip also gets substantial importance in the second half.

I know there are a lot of people who praise this book to no end…But not me…The prose could be good, but it didn’t impress me. I could not connect with the characters which looked vague through out the story…and thus I realized that this is not my kind of book.

Verdict : This book is not my kind of book. Read it if you are interested in the post World War II era.

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