the next good book


By Michael Ondaatje


285 pages

What’s it about? “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.”This is the lyrical, mysterious story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and how the period of time after the war shaped him into the person he becomes.
What did it make me think about? The epigraph at the beginning of this book says,“Most of the great battles are fought in the creases of topographical maps.”Hmmm….   This book is mysterious from the epigraph on.   What exactly is this book about?  As the story unwinds we come to feel that this book is about many things.  Wars are won on the battlefields, but they are also won by the work of many average, ordinary citizens stepping up in extraordinary ways.  What happens when the war ends?  How does life resume?Should I read it? This is a beautiful book.  Part mystery and all literature.  It unwinds slowly and the style of the writing is center stage.  For any fan of Michale Ondaatje’s earlier work- don’t miss this one.  However, if you prefer a quick page turner….then you will probably not be putting this one on your nightstand.  You will be missing out though! Quote- “We are foolish as teenagers.  We say wrong things.  Do not know how to be modest, or less shy.  We judge easily.  But the only hope given us, although only in retrospect, is that we change.  We learn, we evolve.  What I am now was formed by whatever happened to me then, not by what I have achieved, but by how I got here.”

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