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Hardcover The English Patient Book

ISBN: 0771068867

ISBN13: 9780771068867

The English Patient

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

BOOKER PRIZE WINNER - NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The bestselling author of Warlight traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II. "A rare... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Old School Passion & Filmmaking

I'm one of the people who was completely taken with THE ENGLISH PATIENT when I saw it in theatres, but was also amused when Elaine Benis on "Seinfeld" goofed on it later. Or, should I say, goofed on everyone who loved it. The non-linear story structure, the superb acting, the gorgeous photography, the unfolding mystery of what happened to the doomed couple--all of it hit me just right. While other people complained at the film's slow pace, I was soaking up the period details and authentic locations. I played the soundtrack CD for months afterward (and still do sometimes), finding myself lost in the distant and sometimes-haunting music. There were so many terrible movies in the 1990s, just mere product crafted by committee and focus groups, that the intimate--though tragic--feel of this story felt very personal and real. You know the couple played by Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas are in BIG trouble from the moment they meet. Just watch their eyes and expressions. Allowing a passion to spread like that has major implications on everyone around them and, in this case, also has major implicactions on a world on the brink of war. (One footnote: the church I attend put out a list of Top Ten Reasons to Boycott Disney shortly after the film came out. Perhaps scraping for a reason to fill out the list, number 10 was "Boycott Disney because it funds Miramax, which produced THE ENGLISH PATIENT, a film that glorifies adultery." Huh? How anyone can watch this film and believe that these characters, tormented by guilt and confusion, indulging in a passion that not only kills them all but also contributes to Nazi victories in Africa, completely escapes me.)

A poetic tale of four haunted lives

Set at the end of World War II in an Italian villa, The English Patient brings together four unlikely characters: Hana, an emotionally-wounded army nurse who refuses to leave her last patient even when ordered to evacuate; Caravaggio, a friend of Hana's father, thief and spy, a man who is drawn to Hana in ways he cannot articulate; Kip, an Indian sapper loyal to the British military who disarms bombs by day, loves Hana by night; and the mysterious burned invalid, the English patient of the title, who unites them all in unexpected ways. Told in poetic, often elliptical language, this novel demands to be savored instead of read voraciously. The images are just as likely to be visually precise as they are inexplicable. Unlike the movie, which concentrates on the love story between the English patient and the woman he loved, the novel is more about the confusing impulses that lead to both passion and danger in all the characters.Serious readers of literature should read this novel more than once, for its subtleties, imagery, and the force of its lyricism. More casual readers may find it tough reading, not because the language is inaccessible but because of the way Ondaatje backs into his story. Those who stick with the author's poetic turns will be well-rewarded by the end.

Beautiful, Absolutely Beautiful

I'm not really sure why this movie's being panned as severely as it is. Maybe the dense plot put off those looking for an action epic. Maybe the passionate but ultimately destructive relationship put off those looking for a formulaic happy-ending fluff romance. Maybe these people just don't like thinking during movies, because this movie doesn't lay everything out for you and you have to work to figure out character motivations, plot, symbolism, etc. But to me, all those things that this movie isn't only adds to its richness and beauty.The story is told half in flashbacks, half in present tense, with the beginning a sort of bridge between the two: Story A, Juliette Binoche's nurse caring for the mysterious English Patient, begins at the end of Story B, where Ralph Fiennes (on an expedition in the desert) falls madly in love with a married woman (Thomas). Later, Story C also interweaves with A and B, telling of Willem Dafoe's bitter thief and his connection with the English Patient. This storytelling device is probably what makes the movie brilliant (although the acting, romance and cinematography are hardly to be treated lightly). Despite technical brilliance, it is The English Patient's examination of emotions that gives it its heart; the sheer passion of the movie makes me cry every time I see it. And the characters are fascinating, much like Anthony Minghella's later work, The Talented Mr Ripley. No one here can be called a caricature, with the possible exception of Katherine; while you may not understand everything they do, part of the fun is piecing together their actions into complex individuals.You should be warned that you do see a bit more of both Thomas and Binoche than you perhaps would like to, and Almasy and Katherine DO engage in adultery, but if you can overcome any objections to either of those issues and keep your mind open, you may be as moved as I was. The English Patient is a heart-breaking, passionate, powerful, dense, confusing, mesmerizing, extraordinary, and simply beautiful movie.

Heartbreakingly Gorgeous

"The English Patient" is, without a doubt, one of my very favorite books. It is lush, beautiful and gorgeous. And the glory of it is that it got that way with fine, first-rate writing. You won't find any gimmicks or ... tricks here.Unlike the movie, the book begins in war-torn Italy (1944) where we encounter Hana, a Canadian nurse and a horribly burned man known only as, "the English patient." Alone in an isolated, abandoned convent, Hana stays behind when her friends move on to care for the dying English patient. Hana is a rare individual and truly caring. She spends her days reading to the English patient from the volume of Herodotus that was found with him and, when his pain becomes too great, she injects him with morphine.Hana and the English patient aren't alone long, however. A mysterious man named Caravaggio soon arrives and it becomes clear that he has an agenda all his own. Nevertheless, it is Caravaggio who succeeds with the English patient where others have failed. This trio is soon joined by a Sikh named Kip, a man who will play a role in Hana's life, just as she will play a role in his.Eventually, of course, we learn all about the English patient, who really isn't English at all, but a Hungarian count named, Almasy. We learn where he's been and why and how he came to be so horribly burned. We learn about the great love of his life, a love that sadly, was doomed from the very start.This is a book that is told on two levels and contains two love stories. One takes place in the past and the other takes place in the present. While Hana's story is told in the present tense, it is not as involving or as intense as is the love story involving Almasy that takes place in the past. I think this is because Hana and her lover are not as fully-realized as are Almasy and his lover, though Hana is by far the most sympathetic character in the book.The character of Caravaggio is as mysterious as is the English patient. We do learn about him, however, and about his mysterious connection to Almasy. The stories of Hana and Caravaggio are heartbreaking and heartbreakingly beautiful."The English Patient" is a quiet love story, one told without the necessity of melodrama or "fireworks." However, it is one that cuts deep, and one that any reader will remember long after the book is finished. This is a story that simply rings with universal chords...of love, of loss, of sadness, of betrayal.If I have one quibble with this book, it is with the denouement. I didn't really want to know what happened to some of the characters in the distant future. I wanted Ondaatje to leave a little for my imagination. But he didn't and that's his choice. It certainly didn't ruin the book for me.The writing in "The English Patient" is lyrical and beautiful, though spare. Ondaatje is first and foremost a poet, and it shows. This is a book that flows, that cascades, that washes over you with its words.I first read "The English Patient" years ago and I have

Poetico y sensual!

Si vio la pelicula El Paciente Ingles encontrara que el libro es diferente a su adaptacion cinematografica. Poetico y sensual, el libro profundiza mas sobre los personajes de Hana y Kip, definitivamente mas interesantes que la relacion de Katharine y Lazlo Almasy que explota la pelicula. Los personajes se conectan a travez de sus tristezas y pasiones, las historias no contadas, los secretos que los unen.

The English Patient Mentions in Our Blog

The English Patient in How Many Best Pictures Were Based on a Book?
How Many Best Pictures Were Based on a Book?
Published by Amanda Cleveland • March 21, 2024
With Oppenheimer's recent Oscars win, we had a question: How many Best Picture winners were based on a book? Countless classic films are adaptations, as if a great story tends to start in literature. Let's look at the numbers and the amazing books that have lead to great films.
The English Patient in Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Your 2023 Oscars Reading List
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 09, 2023

Are you excited for the Oscars next month? If so, you might want to catch up on the literature that served as inspiration for some of the nominated movies. Plus, check out a few of our favorite book-to-screen best picture winners from the last quarter century.

The English Patient in An Especially Bookish Oscars
An Especially Bookish Oscars
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 24, 2022

Watching the Oscars this weekend? If so, you’ll want to catch up on the literature that served as inspiration for some of the nominated movies. Plus, we share some of our favorite book-to-screen best picture winners from the last quarter century.

The English Patient in And the Oscar Goes To...
And the Oscar Goes To...
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 30, 2021

Did you watch the Oscars last weekend? If so, maybe you're intrigued to catch up on the plays, books, and movies that served as inspiration for some of the nominated (and winning) movies. Plus we share some of our favorite book-to-screen Best Picture winners from the last quarter century.

The English Patient in 9 Books About Nurses
9 Books About Nurses
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • May 15, 2020
Amid the pandemic, we are tremendously grateful for the work of nurses (and all medical professionals), who serve on the front lines of the crisis. From historical fiction to gripping memoirs to thrilling mysteries, here are nine books featuring nurse protagonists.
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