Michael Ondaatje's 'The English Patient': Remembrance of Cultures Past

Catherine Runcie

Abstract


After seeing the film of The English Patient, returning to the novel is difficult. The film's influence is so strong, the visual effects are so splendid, the love story of the English patient and the English socialite so patent and pathetic, that the novel seems at first unexciting, mere graphemes on a page that one must make an effort to construe. No instant gratification as in a film. However in one area where film with its rapidity and compression has a weakness, Ondaatje's novel abounds - reference or allusion.

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