Arts & Letters Live: Michael Ondaatje
In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself, at once both shadowed and luminous, Michael Ondaatje tells a vivid, thrilling story of violence and love, intrigue and desire, in his new novel, Warlight. In London immediately following World War II, 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, find themselves parentless and in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect and educate Rachel and Nathaniel. A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand at that time, and it is this journey, through reality, recollection, and imagination, that is told in this magnificent novel.
Ondaatje is the author of several novels, as well as a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. Among his many recognitions, his novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an award-winning Oscar movie, and Anil’s Ghost won the Giller Prize, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Ondaatje lives in Toronto.
Author Bret Anthony Johnston, Director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, will moderate the conversation.