Rediscover: The English Patient

Earlier this month, author Michael Ondaatje won the Golden Man Booker for his 1992 novel, The English Patient. The award honors the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the Man Booker Prize, Britain's most prestigious literary award, and was selected by five judges from among the previous 51 prize winners. Judge Kamila Shamsie called The English Patient "that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight. It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate--one moment you're in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient's mouth."

Ondaatje's novel unites disparate characters during the Italian Campaign of World War II--the eponymous patient burned beyond recognition, his Canadian nurse, a Canadian thief and a Sikh British Army sapper--then weaves in their previous experiences during the African Campaign. In 1996, The English Patient was adapted by Anthony Minghella into a film starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Willem Dafoe and Colin Firth. It won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Ondaatje's latest novel, Warlight, was published by Knopf on May 8, 2018. The English Patient was last published as part of Penguin Random House's Everyman Library series in 2011 ($24.95, 9780307700872). --Tobias Mutter

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