Customer Reviews for

The English Patient

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
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5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(7)

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(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A transcendent work

A meditation on passion, written in a formless, dreamlike, hallucinatory style. Images appear in the novel as they do in the imagination: suddenly and disquietingly. The author seems to be saying that life is as much about our internal experience as it is about the ext...
A meditation on passion, written in a formless, dreamlike, hallucinatory style. Images appear in the novel as they do in the imagination: suddenly and disquietingly. The author seems to be saying that life is as much about our internal experience as it is about the external world. Love is not this charming thing, but a desperate, agonizing crisis.

posted by Anonymous on November 30, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Different, Intriging, Complex

Although the storyline and writing are very unusual, I frequently was confused. Often the author does not identify the speaker in a conversation and there is alot of moving from between time periods and characters without introduction. The characters themselves were ver...
Although the storyline and writing are very unusual, I frequently was confused. Often the author does not identify the speaker in a conversation and there is alot of moving from between time periods and characters without introduction. The characters themselves were very, very interesting. I learned from reading about the sapper who defused bombs during and after the war. Very informative. I'm 3/4 through. It is definately worth the read although the confusing nature of the writing initially tempted me to put it down.

posted by LoisLaneLG on April 24, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    A transcendent work

    A meditation on passion, written in a formless, dreamlike, hallucinatory style. Images appear in the novel as they do in the imagination: suddenly and disquietingly. The author seems to be saying that life is as much about our internal experience as it is about the external world. Love is not this charming thing, but a desperate, agonizing crisis.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Stunning Imagery and Complex Characterization

    This book begins with the most intriguing and hypnotic imagery I have ever found at the start of a book. A pilot standing in the wreckage of his plane, his leather helmet in flames...that image alone was enough to hook me into this finely crafted story. Ondaatje should be credited with telling more than just one excellent story in this novel, but many. The narrative pieces about Kip are excellent and he becomes a character that I wish Ondaatje would write about in a whole other novel just about him. Also, the English Patient himself with The Histories of Herodotus will be a character that remains in my memory for a long time...that book with his clippings and inserts...his relationship with Katharine...his life as enigmatic and capable of burying details and events as the desert which he loves. This novel will provide you with imagery that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2002

    Surreal, but a true love with a brief intensity

    This is a story just about love, not war, or even a love in a war. However, it seems the story did map the characters from one space to another, and made it an intricating multidimension. The story is well-plotted. Hana is not the main character, but the English patient is. In some sense to him, Hana is probably an image (or 'ghost') of Katherine, so reminds him in his memory. But, what two different characters between Hana and Katherine, and what two different loves they give a man! The story is so far from the philosophy that is commonly adopted for life. But, compared to those, I feel this one is so condensed that romances in other forms are just as vain, and I wish I could find why a person will choose a love like this. In the end, I have to admit, it is a true love, brief but lasting forever.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    Different, Intriging, Complex

    Although the storyline and writing are very unusual, I frequently was confused. Often the author does not identify the speaker in a conversation and there is alot of moving from between time periods and characters without introduction. The characters themselves were very, very interesting. I learned from reading about the sapper who defused bombs during and after the war. Very informative. I'm 3/4 through. It is definately worth the read although the confusing nature of the writing initially tempted me to put it down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    i'm a high school senior and i had to read the book for an english class too but i found it wonderful. not because of its lyrical style or whatever, but because for once, someone wrote about the asian point of view of WWII and showed us the gravity of the bombings in Japan. All our lives we've only been taught the Western view of what had happened and who the good guys were but we never really saw that even if Japan was trying to take over the world, there were still many innocent people who were killed just because they were living there during the war.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Amazing

    As soon as I finished this book it immediately became my favorite. Every sentence is beautifully crafted and evocative, keeping you completely enthralled in the story. Set in Italy near the close of World War 2, it tells the story of the English patient, who is badly burned over most of his body and confined to bed. Throughout the book, he tells Hana, his young, troubled nurse, of his life exploring and mapping the African deserts, and the love he found in the process. Hana herself is deeply haunted, having attended thousands of dying soldiers throughout the war, as well as having to cope with the death of her beloved father. Soon Hana and the English patient are joined by Carravaggio, the enigmatic thief and morphine addict who was her fathers best friend. When their strange group is completed by the young Sikh sapper, Kip, who misses his native India, friendships are formed that will change each persons life forever. Hana, far away from her homeland of Canada, finds a friend and lover in the also displaced Kip, and together the two of them discover solace in eachothers arms amid war and death. From his bed, the English patient enthralls everyone with his mysterious stories of exploration and dangerous love. Everything about this story is beautifully rich, from the characters to the words.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2013

    I had a lots of ups and downs with The English Patient. One thin

    I had a lots of ups and downs with The English Patient. One thing that I admired about the book was the fluid
    wording and beautiful descriptive metaphors. It made the book have a nice flow to it. However, the plot of the
     book was confusing. Most of the book is flashbacks from all four of the different characters, which at times
    blended with the present setting. It was like being given a beautiful mosaic jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces
    didn't fit correctly. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    Quality Work

    I really enjoyed this book. I came from the unique perspective of having seen the movie first, however, I was quite surprised at some of the differences that existed. I enjoyed Mr. Ondaatje's lyrical style and I highly recommend reading 'The English Patient.' It's an experience you'll not soon forget.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2005

    I love this book

    I don't like a lot of books, especially those I have been forced to read. But this one I love. It's hard to get through the beginning, it's so 'quiet' but after that the characters come to life. And it's not so much a 'plot' that is carried out. This is a painting or long poem. And if you are willing to pay attention and actually concentrate you will love this book. AFTER reading I suggest watching the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    The English

    The setting is at Florence, Italy; but also Cairo, the Libyan Desert, and England. The time setting is in 1945 (the very end of World War 2), though the flashbacks are set throughout the 1930s and early 1940s. The main characters are Almásy is knowledgeable and reflective, the other characters reflect their thoughts and wishes told him, though he is badly burned in a plane crash, he retains all his mental faculties and is able to tell Hana, Kip, and Caravaggio the pieces of his past and the story of how he fell in love with Katharine. Hana, a young Canadian who serves the Allies as a nurse in World War II. Only twenty years old, Hana is an excellent nurse who takes good care of her patients. She has quickly learned that she must not become emotionally attached to her patients. Very close to her father, Hana had an emotional breakdown when she heard the news of his death. She falls in love with the idea of the English patient, of the thought that she is caring for a saint-like man. Her heart, however, belongs to Kip, to whom she looks for protection as she stands at the bond between childhood and adulthood. Kip a Sikh man from India who works as a 'sapper,' defusing bombs for the British forces in World War II. Kip is polite and well-mannered, and has both the skill and character to be an excellent sapper. A brown man in a white nation, Kip has grown emotionally detached, aware that people will not always react positively to him. His emotional detachment stands in the way of his relationships, most significantly his relationship with Hana. Caravaggio, a Canadian thief whose profession is rights during the war he puts his skills to use for the British intelligence effort. Caravaggio serves as a kind of surrogate father to Hana, and sheds light on the identity of the English patient. Katharine Clifton an Oxford-educated woman, the wife of Geoffrey Clifton. One of the most mysterious characters in the novel, Katharine is never fully understood. She married Geoffrey quite young and traveled with him to Northern Africa, and that she is an avid reader who learns all she can about Cairo and the desert. Though polite and genteel, Katharine nevertheless takes what she wants, assertively approaching Almásy and telling him that she wants him to 'ravish her. Geoffrey Clifton a British explorer, Katharine Clifton's husband. A young, good-natured, able man, Geoffrey is a new addition to the group of explorers who are mapping the North African desert. Geoffrey seems to have everything going for him: an Oxford education, wealthy family connections, and a beautiful young wife. He is a proud and devoted husband, and enjoys praising his wife in front of the other explorers. Goeffrey claims to have come to North Africa purely out of an interest in exploration, but Almásy finds out that Geoffrey has been working for British Intelligence as photographer. Madox, Almásy's best friend is in the desert. Madox is a rational, level-headed man who, like Almásy, chose to live in the desert to study the features of the land and report back to the Geographical Society. Unlike Almásy, Madox includes his own emotional reactions in his writing and reports, and is not shy to describe his amazement at a particular mountain or his wonder at the size of the moon. Lord Suffolk a member of the old English, who, once the war begins, takes it upon himself to defuse bombs and train other men to do so. Lord Suffolk is the one 'true English gentleman' whom Kip meets while he is abroad. Though Lord Suffolk is described as strange, Kip finds that he is actually a wonderful man and a kind mentor. Kip especially values the fact that Lord Suffolk can look beyond his race and welcome him into the 'English family.' Patrick, Hana's father, is the only parent who was present to raise her while she was growing up. Like Hana, Patrick leaves Canada to join the war effort. Hana is extremely close to her father, and the news of his death sparks her emotional breakd

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2003

    wonderful

    This book was a masterpiece. I love the way Ondaatje wrote out the story, how he integrated each character at a different setting. It was written in a flashback manner like Catch-22. This book is a web of four people finding themselves and learning of each other and themselves. A true romantic and dramatic piece.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2002

    each piece a poem

    That is how I read it. I find my writing infected with a similar style; and I don't mind that much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2002

    The English Patients Fall From Grace

    I really enjoyed the English Patient for Michael Ondaatje's use of language. It was like reading beautiful prose and getting a history lesson out of it at the same time. Every sentence he wrote could be looked at in four different ways, with the possibilities of meaning neverending. The four characters are intricately entwined so that at times it is hard to decipher who is speaking or where the plot is going. However anyone who is capable of writing such a story is a true storyteller, and is definately worth reading to challenge the mind and the soul. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a serious read, an excellent tale, or a passionate love story. The English Patient encapsulates them all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2002

    *****

    I read the book because a friend loved the movie. He is a person who would not normally reccommend this type of film. I read the book because I knew it would be better than a film. I read the first few pages in an airport bookstore and I was immediately enchanted. Ondaatje's style was so fluid, his prose was as beautiful and intense as poetry. I did not find it confusing at all, because I was enjoying the language so much that the plot took on a secondary role. I do not want to rave, but I love this book. It is one of the only books that I didn't want to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2001

    A beautiful story

    This story was wonderful. I saw the movie first and fell in love with it. I decieded to read the book and fell in love with it also. The language is a little confusing, but once you get past it you'll begin to appreciate it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2000

    the english patient

    It seems like you either love or hate this book. I love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2014

    The English Patient

    Must read !

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  • Posted December 17, 2013

    The English patient is a great mysterious love story. It did gre

    The English patient is a great mysterious love story. It did great with being very descriptive with the settings characters etc. The only bad feedback i have is that I was frequently confused and it didn't give a proper introduction on a new point of view or time period. Other than that when i got back on track with the story i ended up really enjoying it so if you are looking for a good passionate, mysterious love story I highly recommend The English Patient.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Great Writing

    A sophisticated and poetic use of language to tell a story with some perverse twists which are immediately overcome by the power of the telling of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2011

    Love

    Its like poetry.

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