Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BOOK: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, 301 pages

Canadian Book Challenge 5; Man Booker Winner 1992

My "not so much review as comparison to the movie" review:

This might be one of those rare books that the movie is better than. Or that I understood the movie better. Although the book helped me figure a few things out in the movie. But I did like the book, because I already knew the characters. Hmm. They just really go together!

I am not usually a fan of the tragic love story, like Romeo and Juliet. I am much more pragmatic. However, The English Patient (the movie) worked for me. I bought the love story, tragic ending and all. Ralph Fiennes helped a lot! With that background, I quite enjoyed the book. The major difference I noticed was that the movie was about the English Patient and Catherine, his love. The book is more about the nurse and the bomb-defusing Indian soldier, the awesome dude from Lost.  Another reason I liked the book was because I really liked those characters and their love story as much as the English Patient's. After reading the book, I am even more impressed with the movie and how it was put together.

This is one of those modern classic novels I've been wanting to read and I would try another Ondaatje novel. He wrote amazingly intricate characters, about the after effects of war on all kinds of people from war, all in spare yet easy to read prose. Ondaatje gathered this Commonwealth of characters with connections and challenges that are so damaged, physically and emotionally.