In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself at once both shadowed and luminous Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didnt know or understand in that time, and it is this journey through reality, recollection, and imagination that is told in this magnificent novel....
|Number of Pages||:||304 pages|
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“Mahler put the word schwer beside certain passages in his musical scores. Meaning ‘difficult.’ ‘Heavy.’ We were told this at some point by The Moth, as if it was a warning. He said we needed to prepare for such moments in order to deal with them efficiently, in case we suddenly had to take control of our wits. Those times exist for all of us, he kept saying. Just as no score relies on only one pitch or level of effort from musicians in the orchestra. Sometimes it relies on silence. It was a str ...more
Damn this was good!!!!
I purposely stayed away from reviews- but now I’m dying to read what others have to say - especially since I’m ‘long-winded review-retired’ for the rest of 2018.
From the title itself, “Warlight”, to the luring first line in the novel - “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals”......I was completely captivated to the end.
Nathaniel—is an adult writing about his life.
In childhood, Nathaniel, 14, and Rachel 16, get entangl ...more
Ondaatje’s brilliant novel oozes with secrets that reveal themselves slowly—like a heavy fog lifting with the light of day. “Warlight” is what Londoners called the weird night light of blacked out London during the Blitz. It is a shadowy world with dark shapes softly punctuated by half-hidden lights warning of bridge obstructions.
As teenagers, Nathaniel and Rachel are abandoned by their parents during the final months of the war to the guardianship of a dodgy man that they nicknamed “the Moth”. ...more
4.5, rounded up.
My only previous encounter with Ondaatje prior to this was his Booker Award-winning 'The English Patient', and this has many of the same elements - for good and ill. The good includes exquisite prose, an exciting and involving story set in the years following WW II, and quirky characters that stick with you. Although the first section reads quickly, linearly and smoothly, the second part (purposefully and probably necessarily) fragments and is more difficult to follow, as one tri ...more
Warlight was the faint illumination that guided people during the blackouts. In this book it's a guide through a personal history.
Nathaniel was 14 and his sister Rachel almost 16 in 1945 when their parents left for a year's stay in Singapore, leaving the children in the care of their lodger who they called The Moth. The Moth filled their home with dubious, possibly criminal, characters including a greyhound smuggler called The Darter. What seemed like it was going to be a coming of age tale tur ...more
Espionage is generally regarded as exciting, glamorous even, and spy stories are a staple of British literature, and particularly since World War 2, and the Cold War period. Warlight is firmly in this tradition. It’s an enjoyable, light read, with some well cast characters (all spies in fiction are charismatic, mostly good looking, always dashing).
Has Michael Ondaatje written anything original or surprising in Warlight. I don’t think he has particularly, but that’s not to detract from a carefu ...more
What a beautiful book this is, and how it reminds us how many people go before us, unsung, unremarked, unremembered. A teenaged boy and his slightly older sister find themselves attending separate but proximate boarding schools rather suddenly one year while their parents have taken off for Singapore. The schools are not happy matches and the kids meet up and decide to run away. They return home where a curious bachelor holds fort in their absence. The teens begin a whole new type of education.
WARLIGHT. (2018). Michael Ondaatje. 21/2*
I have to admit that the only other book that I’ve read by this author was “The English Patient.” That was a fantastic – later made into a fantastic film – that went on to win the Booker Prize. This effort by Ondaatje was not nearly as good. Although it was well written, I searched high and low for the presence of a plot. It is the story of two teen-aged children, a boy and his older sister, who were left with a caretaker while their parents went off to S ...more