Warlight - Michael Ondaatje
2018, 304 pages
In 1945, fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are unexpectedly abandoned by their parents, who are moving from London to Singapore for a year. Nathaniel and Rachel are left in the care of two strangers, an enigmatic figure called the Moth, and Pimlico Darter, a former boxer and dog-racing fixer. Shortly after their parents leave, the children find out that their mother has left her trunk of clothes in the basement. So something mysterious must have happened.
The novel, set in post-Second World War London, is Nathaniel’s reconstruction of what happened in the past and also a quest to find his parents. It contains a number of layers, including Nathaniel’s coming of age and the work of the secret services after the end of the war.
Michael Ondaatje is a Canadian writer, well known for his novel ‘The English Patient’. The same subtle, dream-like style of writing is also found in ‘Warlight’. It is great literature and a beautifully written spy thriller.