2018 EDITORS' CHOICE.
- Source:Booklist; 1/1/2019, Vol. 115 Issue 9/10, p6-17, 12p, 37 Color Photographs, 2 Black and White Photographs, 2 Cartoon or Caricatures
- Document Type:Book Review
- Publication Information:American Library Association / Booklist Publications
- Subject Terms:
Booklist Reviews 2018 April #2
*Starred Review* The smoke has yet to clear in war-battered 1945 London when Nathaniel, 14, and his sister, Rachel, 16, are left in the care of a man they call the Moth, about whom they know nearly nothing. Nathaniel is certain that the Moth and his curious friends, especially the former boxer known as the Darter, are criminals, and, indeed, he is soon caught up in strange and dangerous undertakings involving barges on the Thames at night and clandestine deliveries. Even Nathaniel's first sexual relationship is illicit, as the young lovers meet in empty houses, thanks to her real-estate agent brother. Evidence slowly accrues suggesting that Nathaniel and Rachel's mother, Rose, may be with British intelligence. Ondaatje's (The Cat's Table, 2011) gorgeous, spellbinding prose is precise and lustrous, witty, and tender. As the painful truth of this fractured family emerges and Rose's riveting story takes center stage, Ondaatje balances major and minor chords, sun and shadow, with masterful grace beautifully concentrated in "warlight," his term for the sparest possible illumination during the city's defensive blackouts. With vivid evocations of place, quiet suspense, exquisite psychological portraiture, and spotlighted historical events—a legendary chess game; horrific, hidden postwar vengeance; and the mass destruction of government archives—Ondaatje's drolly charming, stealthily sorrowful tale casts subtle light on secret skirmishes and wounds sustained as war is slowly forged into peace. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A concerted publicity effort and cross-country author tour will support this stellar novel by a literary giant with a tremendous readership. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 December #1
The multi-award-winning author of
LJ Reviews 2018 April #2
In 2017, Ondaatje (