Warlight

“Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje (Canada) 

Review

The four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer Reading Group varied greatly in style of writing and author’s experience, from the seasoned writer to the relative newcomer. When it came time for voting for Best Summer Read 2018, two books tied for first place: “The Travelling Cat Chronicles” and “Warlight”. One reader commented on this result saying how she couldn’t quite come to terms with the tie between the brilliant “Warlight” and the mediocre “Travelling Cat Chronicles,” adding that she guessed that’s the joy of the book club to which we wholeheartedly agreed!

“Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje (Canada) is set in a post-war London and is narrated by Nathaniel who has been left with his older sister to be looked after by a motley crew of characters when their parents move to Singapore. Even though everyone agreed it was well written, there were mixed reactions to this book with some readers loving it while others could not get into it at all. They liked the descriptions of the city and the activities the different characters get up to. However, some readers found that their lack of empathy towards the characters made them lose interest in the story. Others felt manipulated and towards the end hated it. And yet others read it like a crime novel and found it mesmerising. One reader loved its beautiful rhythm.

Synopsis

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends… Read more 

Nicola’s Summer Reading list 2018

“The Travelling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa (Japan) *
“To the Back of Beyond” by Peter Stamm (Switzerland)
“Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje (Canada) *
“Welcome to Lagos” by Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria)

* Best Summer Reads
In italics, SRG’s Coup de Cœur

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