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The English Patient

About the Book

The English Patient

The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. We hope that they will give you a number of interesting angles from which to consider this mesmerizing work of fiction, a novel that is simultaneously mysterious, poetic, and romantic.

It is 1944, and the war in central Italy is over. It has moved north, leaving in its wake a landscape of ruined places and people. In an isolated Tuscan villa that served as a military hospital, two people remain, forgotten by the rest of the world: a young Canadian nurse, Hana, almost destroyed by war and the death of her father, and her last patient, a man burned beyond recognition, who drifts in and out of his own memories and dreams. Into their lives comes Caravaggio, a thief who has been tortured and maimed by wartime inquisitors, and Kip, a young Sikh who has spent the war dismantling bombs. While events taking place in the outside world prove that history has reached a definitive turning point, in the Villa San Girolamo Ondaatje's four protagonists carry on a remote, intensely personal existence, as they play out their interior drama.

The English Patient
by Michael Ondaatje

  • Publication Date: November 30, 1993
  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books
  • ISBN-10: 0679745203
  • ISBN-13: 9780679745204