A Novel

Large Print - 2018
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In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself--shadowed and luminous at once--we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.
Published: New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2018]
Edition: First large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780525633006
Branch Call Number: F OND
Characteristics: 351 pages (large print) ;,24 cm
large print, rda
Alternative Title: War light


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Aug 06, 2018

Part 2, « Inheritance » , opens with my new favorite matter of fact description of place. Nathaniel has been rescued by his mother’s wartime colleague to her childhood home and it’s 1959. Otherwise, the boy is re-writing Dickens. On each side of 1945. The boy came of age with thieves, and the mother’s war story can’t exactly be told because it might be too true. Artful play with time, except too many cuts at the end feel they ordered a movie.

Aug 04, 2018

The "Cat's Table"on land. Children without adult supervision encountering a diverse and suspect group of adults. I hope Michael Ondaatje is not going to make a habit of this same story over and over. Nevertheless, well written as are all his books.

Jul 31, 2018

I usually skip over war novels, but this one written from the perspective of the child (now grown), whose parents were involved in war-time espionage was quite a great read. I would recommend it.

Jul 22, 2018

well written book but found it rather plotless. round and round it goes with no definitive moments. would recommend for the writing but the story lacks ooomph! Not "the English Patient"

Jun 22, 2018

An interesting book, a writer who has voice (vocabulary) that most cannot match. Reading this book was like floating through the pages on a cloud. It was hazy towards the end, until I understood the points the author was using while traversing a back and forth timeline. Better
than the usual mass produced drivel we are stuck with these days

RogerDeBlanck Jun 19, 2018

As he has done with masterful precision in each of his previous novels, Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight takes mystery and intrigue to a spellbinding level where every detail possesses significance and meaning beyond the moment of its revealing. Shortly after World War II, siblings Nathaniel and Rachel Williams are in their early teens when their parents must go abroad and place their children under the care of an enigmatic man named The Moth. Where their parents go upon leaving London remains as much a secret as The Moth himself and the various other figures who begin to frequent the lives of Nathaniel and Rachel. Nathaniel later discovers the dangers and consequences of his mother’s involvement in covert missions to gather data for British intelligence. Warlight is a brilliant and thrilling account of Nathaniel’s youth and of his attempts later in life to make sense of his memories and piece together fragments of clues about his mother’s elusive past. The elegance and beauty of Ondaatje’s prose assembles a mosaic of characters, scenes, and ideas that examine the intricacies of human loneliness and connection.

May 30, 2018

Sad that Cleveland Public Library can't promote this title through our catalog interface. Ondaatje is masterful at character development and subtle, dream-like recollection. The secret life of adults remembered through the fog of childhood memories. British writers seem to have a mastery of this technique. Last year, my beach read was Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Warlight, does not involve obvious supernatural - but it is still there in the mist of Nathaniel's time travel. Highly recommend! Great to read by the pool this summer and drift away.

May 13, 2018

This is a beautifully written work of literary fiction. Such a smooth writing style, calm and engaging, a quiet but very compelling voice. Almost as if you were listening to someone presenting the story on the radio, where you just sit back and listen to a young man's strange and mysterious recollections of his life in post-war England. Nathaniel and his sister Rachel, two teenagers left in the care of a shady character they nickname The Moth, have only the dimmest notions regarding why their parents have left them in these oddly disordered circumstances. Pouring over his memories of the time, piecing them together with odds and ends in official records, Nathaniel attempts to uncover any truth that might explain what really happened. Ondaatje's skillfully drawn characterizations show there is a deceptive surface to any social order, particularly in wartime; the great social norm we all feel a responsibility to adhere to is often rejected by small and powerful groups of personalities who actually thrive in a dangerous world. This novel explores how sometimes people choose to live in the shadows, and how their actions have long-lasting consequences, for better or for worse.

debwalker Apr 06, 2018

Long time since The English Patient...Ondaatje again visits the repercussions of world war.

Nicr Mar 10, 2018

In the decade following WWII, 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents to be raised by the family's upstairs lodger, "The Mole," and his partner in crime, "The Darter." Reads more like memoir than Ondaatje's elliptical classic work. The extended ellipsis here is the enigmatic figure of Nathaniel's mother, who vanished from his life and erased her own. Ondaatje's vivid, elegant prose is reason enough for reading.


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Jul 24, 2018

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