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....
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Beginning as I do at the beginning, and taking two steps back to reflect, I have to say that I was ready (and raring) to give "Warlight" a bad review. Especially after I read some of the other reviews on the work. However, upon the completion of those two important backward steps and the conviction that my old Canadian Literature professor would be gravely disappointed that I didn't "dig deeper," I have come to a very different conclusion.
For fans of Ondaatje, you are well aware that the words " ...more
Where on earth to start a review of this book?
It is well on the way to a five star book (which I have reserved for only six or seven books out of thousands).
I have a feeling that while I may call this book a masterpiece, others may use the very same points as proof that the plot is all over the place and the characters are fragmented. The subtlety and complexity are the skill of this book.
Take a deep breath.
I am going to have to read the first chapter again. It is a masterclass in how to begin a ...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
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
The point of writing novels is to get early galleys of incredible novels like this one. My book is kicking my ass so hard that I think one of the reasons I’m still in this business is because I get to read books like this.
I bet you've already read this book many times. Imagine a coming of age novel (sort of) with a protagonist - a boy - whose life was torn apart by something which no ordinary human being can control (let's say, WW2, as it suits so many purposes of modern fiction). Imagine this said boy dealing with consequences of his parents and guardians mistakes. Suffering. Well, not-really-coming-of-age, in fact. We all know that oh so popular kind of protagonist who suffer delightedly in a very special, Pete ...more
In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.When we are young we rely on the people who surround us to introduce us to the world, to explain the many elements of life that can be so confusing, overwhelming, or simply opaque to young eyes. Some of this knowledge can only come from first-hand experience, but it helps to have adults at hand, of a trustworthy sort, who can help us along the road of becoming. Nathaniel (aka Stitch) is fourteen. His ...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