'Warlight' book cover Image Credit: Supplied

"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje is a captivating novel that explores the aftermath of World War II in London. The story is narrated by Nathaniel, a young man who is left to piece together the truth about his parents and their involvement in the war effort, as well as his own place in the world.

The novel is beautifully written, with Ondaatje's prose flowing effortlessly from page to page. The author creates a vivid and atmospheric world, bringing post-war London to life with all its grit and glamour. The descriptions of the city, the people and their struggles are hauntingly poetic and lend an eerie quality to the story.

Read more by the writer

At its heart, "Warlight" is a mystery, and Ondaatje does an excellent job of slowly unraveling the secrets and lies that surround Nathaniel's family. The author skillfully weaves together threads of espionage, crime, and personal drama, creating a story that is both suspenseful and deeply emotional.

Ondaatje is best known for his award-winning novel "The English Patient," which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film. His work has been recognised with numerous awards, including the Booker Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Award for English language fiction. He has also been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian literature.

Unique backstories and motivations

The characters in "Warlight" are complex and fully-realised, with their own unique backstories and motivations. Nathaniel's mother, Rose, is a particularly intriguing figure, and her enigmatic presence casts a shadow over the entire novel. Nathaniel himself is a sympathetic and relatable protagonist, and his journey of self-discovery is both poignant and compelling.

Overall, "Warlight" is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel that explores the lasting impact of war on individuals and society.

The novel is a testament to Ondaatje's skill as a writer and his ability to craft a story that is both intimate and universal. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction and historical drama.

Ondaatje's ability to craft a story that is both engaging and meaningful is truly impressive. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction and historical drama.

Ahmad Nazir is a UAE-based freelancer writer