- € 8,99
**LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018**
An elegiac novel set in post-WW2 London about memory, family secrets and lies, from the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient
It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz. 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: men and women all who seem determined to protect Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel journeys through recollection, reality and imagination to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, to piece together a story that feels something like the truth.
‘A novel of shadowy brilliance’ The Times
‘Fiction as rich, as beautiful, as melancholy as life itself, written in the visionary language of memory’ Observer
‘Ondaatje brilliantly threads the mysteries and disguises and tangled loyalties and personal yearnings of the secret world... I haven’t read a better novel this year’ Telegraph
The term warlight was used to describe the dimmed lights that guided emergency traffic during London's wartime blackouts. The word aptly describes the atmosphere of this haunting, brilliant novel from Ondaatje (The Cat's Table), set in Britain in the decades after WWII, in which many significant facts are purposely shrouded in the semidarkness of history. The narrator, Nathaniel Williams, looks back at the year 1945, when he was 14 and "our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals." Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, are stunned to discover that their mother's purported reason for leaving them was false. Her betrayal destroys their innocence; they learn to accept that "nothing was safe anymore." To the siblings' surprise, however, their designated guardian, their upstairs lodger, whom they call the Moth, turns out to be a kind and protective mentor. His friend, a former boxer nicknamed the Pimlico Darter, is also a kindly guide, albeit one engaged in illegal enterprises in which he enlists Nathaniel's help. The story reads like a nontraditional and fascinating coming-of-age saga until a violent event occurs midway through; the resulting shocking revelations open the novel's second half to more surprises. The central irony is Nathaniel's eventual realization that his mother's heroic acts of patriotism during and after the war left lasting repercussions that fractured their family. Mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje's best work yet.