London Mabel's Reviews > The English Patient

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
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Apr 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: to-read-in-2012-nano, 3to-read-in-2013, f-historical, f-romance, fiction, 2gave-to-bookiverse
Read from January 03 to 17, 2013

I understand why some wouldn't like the book--it's not linear storytelling, and the language is often obscure. All the same I found myself quickly engrossed in the story, I loved the characters, and the language was poetic and sometimes breathtaking.
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Quotes London Liked

Michael Ondaatje
“There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
tags: love, war

Michael Ondaatje
“We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“How does this happen? To fall in love and be disassembled.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“You must talk to me, Caravaggio. Or am I just a book? Something to be read, some creature to be tempted out of a loch and shot full of morphine, full of corridors, lies, loose vegetation, pockets of stones.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“...some people you just had to embrace, in some way or another, had to bite into the muscle, to remain sane in their company. You needed to grab their hair and clutch it like a drowner so they would pull you into their midst.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“All his life he has avoided permanent intimacy. Till this war he has been a better lover than husband. He has been a man who slips away, in the way lovers leave chaos, the way thieves leave reduced houses.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“So many nurses had turned into emotionally disturbed handmaidens of the war, in their yellow-and-crimson uniforms with bone buttons.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“Caravaggio was constantly diverted by the human element during burglaries. Breaking into a house during Christmas, he would become annoyed if the Advent calendar had not been opened up to the date to which it should have been.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“After that month in Cairo she was muted, read constantly, kept more to herself, as if something had occurred or she realized suddenly that wondrous thing about the human being, it can change. She did not have to remain a socialite who had married an adventurer. She was discovering herself. It was painful to watch, because Clifton could not see it, her self-education.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“The jackal with one eye that looks back and one that regards the path you consider taking. In his jaws are pieces of the past he delivers to you, and when all of that time is fully discovered it will prove to have been already known.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Michael Ondaatje
“If he closes his eyes he sees the streets of Asia full of fire. It rolls across cities like a burst map, the hurricane of heat withering bodies as it meets them, the shadow of humans suddenly in the air. This tremor of Western wisdom.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient


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