Two teens are raised in post-war London by a group of eccentrics in Michael Ondaatje's novel.

Michael Ondaatje

From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient comes a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself — shadowed and luminous at once — we read the story of 14-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate — in rather unusual ways — Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing and excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey — through facts, recollection and imagination — that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time. (From McClelland & Stewart)


The Canadian literary icon joined Eleanor Wachtel onstage at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal. His new novel, Warlight, is being hailed as a masterpiece. 53:25
Michael Ondaatje on his atmospheric new novel, which is set in London, England, just after the Second World War. 15:51

Other books by Michael Ondaatje