I'll start by saying that I think Ondaatje is a great writer, and for me, The English Patient is firmly in my top 10 all time best books. This book still has shimmering, delightful prose, and there is no mistaking Ondaatje's touch. Indeed, as a piece of writing, of itself, the book is both magical, and enchanting. But this isn't enough to hold together a fragmented, poorly realised, and uninteresting narrative, which ultimately doesn't go anywhere. Worst of all, I felt reading it, like I really couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters - and when a book doesn't engage in what, on the face of it is intended to be a very human story, then something has gone wrong somewhere. Whilst the book has the feel of a magical, dreamlike state, this begins to grate pretty quickly, and the saccharin tinged feel is more Hollywood than a writer of Ondaatje's depth of talent should be turning out. Told as a series of short vignettes, the story is not substantial enough to hold the weight of the concepts it seems Ondaatje wants to unfold, and irritates with it's sketch like nature. The modern day elements seem stilted, and disjointed, and don't connect enough with the underlying story to provide the great revelations that might be expected. So overall, it is hard to like as a story - but, as I say, some of Ondaatje's prose is so sharp, so precise, and so brilliant, that it shines from the page. On that basis, Ondaatje has produced something of merit - but just don't read it looking for, or expecting a great story, or for that matter a great revelatory examination of the human psyche, because this is just too light to pull that off.