In the first of two conversations, Michael Ondaatje gifts the audience by reading the first line from his new novel, Warlight: “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals.” From there begins the novel’s acrobatic Part One, its surprises, tiny shocks, celebrations, and joys. Two siblings, raised by criminals; their youth allows them to misunderstand everything that happens. Strangeness and eccentricity brings them enjoyment, surprise, and pleasure. Then the novel’s second part develops melancholy from another life perspective, one of sorrow and emptiness, loss and sadness. Warlight gives the best of both sides, the celebratory and the lonely. Michael Ondaatje fully embraces the fun of storytelling in this miracle of a novel.
Photo by Christopher Ho.