The History Book Club discussion


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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 01, 2017 08:59AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The English Patient is a 1992 novel by Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned man, his Canadian nurse, a Canadian thief, and an Indian sapper in the British Army as they live out the end of World War II in an Italian villa. The novel won the Canadian Governor General's Award and the Booker Prize for fiction. The novel has been translated into more than 300 languages and was adapted into an award-winning film of the same name in 1996. The narrative is non-linear and the main characters are examined in depth and detail.

Source: Wikipedia

THE ENGLISH PATIENT is another book which uses The Histories by Herodotus prominently. The English Patient himself is the one who has carried this work with him.

This thread is set up to discuss the relationship that the book by Herodotus had to the characters and the themes in this work.

This is not a no spoiler thread.


The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje by Michael Ondaatje Michael Ondaatje

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

that is interesting Bentley, thanks for letting us know about it. I'll have to watch the movie.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It won best picture; I am going to have to reread it I think. If anyone knows of Herodotus being used in other works, by all means point them out and I will set up a thread in order to see what the impact was to the themes of these books and the relationship to The Histories itself.

Vanessa, let us know what you discover.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I'm trying to watch it but I can't. Twelve years ago I had deep second degree burns on my thigh from dropping a cup of tea. I wound up in the hospital for a week on antibiotics as I got blood poisoning. Watching him in that bed is too much! I might let my husband watch it and he can tell me where H is discussed!

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Ouch! I feel your pain!

When i went to the hospital no one could believe that a cup of tea could do such damage. A burn is a different kind of injury, isn't it?

I could not go near a cup of tea for years and years.

On an historical note, we visited Plimouth Plantation a couple of years later. I was not surprised when we were told that something like l0% of women died from burns. Their dresses would catch fire while cooking at the fireplaces and when infection set in, that was it.

I'm curious, how is it that you did not have serious burns?

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
He does improve if that helps Vanessa. And I am sorry for both of your burns. Just think that actor Vanessa was never burned at all. That should help.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Back to The English Patient.

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 20, 2008 07:31PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod

For those of you interested in The English Patient; it was a novel first by Michael Ondaatje first which later became a movie. It won the Man Booker Prize for literature. For those of you who may be confused now since there was mention of the movie above and burns; the novel The English Patient, probably demands much of its readers-but just like Rapuscinski's memoir it was another homage to Herodotus. For those of us who are reading The English Patient or would like to; Herodotus' Histories is the only possession of Ondaatje's central figure, a badly-burned, amnesiac patient, and The Histories provides the inspiration for both his character and also for the novel.

That is why we are featuring it as well. If you get to see the movie that is OK; but I think the novel is the most moving place to start. Just thought that I would add this update.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

message 7

OK, your mom took good care of you. I, OTH, ignored the burns. I called the emergency room and described what had happened and they said to come in if I got feverish. So for two days I did laundry and cleaned and cooked and acted as though nothing had happened. And then i got feverish! When I came in the nurse's eyes bugged out. 4% of my body was burned, I was on the verge of passing out and the dr. said I had to stay in the hospital. Had I gone in right away I would have avoided all of that. I don't have scarring either.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

message 8

Thanks Bentley. I keep trying to think that he's just acting but every time he cringes I remember what that felt like. I keep fast-forwarding but then I miss the story and the book! Maybe I can do it tomorrow!
The movie actually came out right after I got out of the hospital. Everyone was asking if I was going to see it and of course I wouldn't consider it. But all of these years later I thought it would be ok.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

BTW, I hadn't realized it was a book!!!

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Yes, an award winning book which was then made into a movie. The book might not upset you in the same way.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

message l5

I'm so glad I still have not returned the DVD. You've convinced me to give it another try. It sounds wonderful.

Antoine, you have an insightful mind and a wonderful way of expressing your ideas.

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Response to Antoine:

Yes, you remember the movie well...liked Juliette Binoche in her role. Yes, Herodotus' The Histories was the book carried by the English Patient (Ralph Fiennes).

message 15: by Atishay (new)

Atishay Hi everyone ! I've heard a lot about The English Patient but haven't had the chance to read it yet. I'll add it to my to-read list right away.

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Great, I think you will like it; very powerful and then you can watch the movie! (lol)

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The English Patient (other topics)

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Michael Ondaatje (other topics)