ARRAY(0xac47d510)
 
Customer Review

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patience required, 4 July 2010
By 
This review is from: The English Patient (Paperback)
I could spend all day praising the beautiful, lyrical language that Michael Ondaatje uses in The English Patient. The problem is that it's pretty much all there is to the novel, which ultimately lacks power as its story and characters get lost in the languorous meandering of its poetry.

The worst offender is Ondaatje's non-existent characterisation. The characters are for the most part only distinguished from each other by crude markers of race, sex, age and nationality. They speak the same dialogue and think the same thoughts and seem little more than ciphers for Ondaatje's philosophy. Hanna, we are told by the author, is severely traumatised by her experiences during the war, but there is little evidence of it in her speech or actions.

It's a story about the war strangely lacking in horror and harshness, which seems to be smothered by the lyrical language. We don't feel the pain of the English patient's burns, only the beauty of his thoughts. For me, the narrative lacked drive as it drifted and circled around its central events, repeatedly revisiting the same scenes. The best chapters by far were Kip's experiences in the bomb disposal unit where tension and drama were finally allowed to break through the language. But it wasn't enough to redeem the rest of the book for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.9 out of 5 stars (65 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (28)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
8.99 6.29
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Oracle
(VINE VOICE)   

Top Reviewer Ranking: 13,486