The English Patient!

This is a book i read in my literature class an really enjoy it! Here is my opinion and paper i present about it!

The English Patient is a meticulous novel written by the great novelist Michael Odantaje. It’s a novel full of love and confusion set at the end of World War II. It reveals the identity and true self of 4 individuals in a magically and realistic way. It not only involves love but also a little of mystery as you get to know these characters.

The II World War is coming to an end in Italy, Hanna; a Canadian nurse decides to live in a desolated Villa called Villa San Girolamo in company of her burned patient. Tired of the death and war, she decides to stay there and nurse this man with no identity at all, just known as the “English patient” for his accent. Hanna not only nurses him but, reads and hears his experiences as well. Suddenly Caravaggio arrives to the Villa. He was a thief and an old family friend of Hanna, with war ending and having no family Caravaggio searches for her. As the plot develops Kip arrives, an Indian Sapper that worked for the English and dismantled bombs. He trusted no one but himself.  With time he establishes a love relationship with Hanna, something Caravaggio wanted. They start to know the English patient’s history with what he remembers, but not his identity. The book relates the past life of these individuals and each of them gets to establish a connection with the unknown English patient.

Michael Odantaje’s style in The English Patient is totally poetic. The use of metaphors and poetic language enriches the novel in a magical sense, giving it a style for the reader to imagine and feel rather than just knowing what’s happening.  It is presented in a nonlinear order while it feeds the reader with a set of memories and presents events that keep it interesting. It has many random flashbacks that may confuse you but at the same time gives logic to it. Character development is as well part of the style, throughout the whole book you get to know the life, personalities and identities of these individuals. The time in which the novel takes place also complements the themes that can be: nationality, identity, honor and war. Some other themes that the novel refers to are death, life, passion, healing, loneliness, and connection. It also includes some historical context like Herodotus, and war incidents. It is totally a controversial novel and its audience in general is for people who would like to read something poetic and passionate. It shows the reader how was life after war but in the emotional side. Teenagers of 16 and adults definitely will have a good time reading it.
It is a passive novel but it really goes with the style. The novel doesn’t have an established plot and is more about characters. Throughout the whole novel you are able to see how each character develops; especially through experiences, flashbacks and past life rather than Daily events. As the book advances you can perceive that each character is damaged in a certain way and wants to get heal. I personally think the book centers towards Hanna, I really loved her character because of the way she attaches to the English Patient and takes care of him. This strange and mysterious attachment with the patient at first is unexplainable. Later on, Hanna describes her father’s death and you realize that he died being burned, making her build a strong closeness for the English patient; that may have developed from the fact that her father was burned too and she wasn’t there to take care of him. I think seeing the burned patient caused her pain and care for him thinking on her dead father.  This novel is more about getting to know these individuals through what they have experienced. It shows you that there are moments in your life that you are left with nothing and your only possessions are your experiences and memories
I’ll also like to state that Odantaje centers the book toward the character rather than creating a plot; this makes the book a little boring at the beginning, because you are waiting for a problem or a situation to happen than just getting to know the characters. But yet his descriptions bring alive the novel and you get to perceive what I had before mentioned. He also presents you to love stories of different times that are a little sad but touchy. Is a book that tells you how to love and what to expect from love. What really kept me reading the book was to discover the English patient’s real identity. Even though I had to pass by his whole story that somehow I felt it really fast and of much detailed compared to the rest of the book; still it was worth to get to know him. Through the story narration of you also discover along with the characters that the patient turns out to be way different than how the characters and I imagine him. In this book I learned that when we lose everything our only possession left is our past, names, experiences and memories.
Reading this book was at first a little confusing and difficult to get through, because of the random flashbacks that appeared. It’s a book that takes time to read to really understand the poetic elements it has. I enjoyed the story a lot and learned about it, what I disliked the most was that sometimes there where unnecessary details mention. However the story is deeply touching on the aspects of love and personalities. The poetic work of this author and book is splendid and really carries you to the world of the characters. I highly recommend this book to persons that would like to read about passionate love, pain, relations, and isolation. Still you have to be patient to read the book to get to understand the story. It’s a novel you should read not only for its controversial style but for its poetic work. It’s a book that confuses, intrigues, moves, and makes you think about love. So if you want to read something different The English Patient is definitely what you should read.   

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