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The English Patient

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje I have once again failed to understand the appeal of literary fiction. 

The English Patient is a good story, if you have the patience, time, and tenacity to actually figure out the story. The author does not make it easy. There were several times, especially in the beginning, where I was lost. It felt like the author was being weird and obscure just for the sake of being weird and obscure. Some of the scenes felt completely pointless. I don't enjoy relying on Google to make sure that I'm fully understanding a story.

This novel is about a nurse, a thief, a sapper, and a burned man who meet in a partially bombed Italian villa at the end of WWII. Kip, the sapper, was my favorite character. I enjoyed his story. It was the only thing that kept the book from feeling like a complete slog. It took me a long time to get through the book, but Kip was interesting enough to keep me reading.

The writing in this book is better than the writing in a lot of books, but compared to other works of literary fiction, the writing is not hugely impressive. Is it weird that the most memorable part of the book for me was the comparison between a man's penis and a sleeping seahorse? That's just creepy.