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Ivanhoe Reading Circle discussing Michael Ondaatje's Warlight

Ivanhoe Reading Circle

Event Date: 4 June 2019
Author / Presenters: Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje’s new novel, “Warlight,” his first in seven years, has the immediate allure of a dark fairy tale. “In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals,” the adult narrator begins, leading us into the shadowlands of memory.

In a bomb-cratered London “that still felt wounded, uncertain of itself,” the abandoned brother and sister grow up “protected by the arms of strangers.” A household lodger nicknamed the Moth is their official guardian. But other adults soon populate their childhood, most notably the Darter, a boxer turned dog-racing fixer who knows the ways of the river, the weather, women and thievery. There is also Olive Lawrence, a glamorous ethnographer briefly attached to the Darter, and chimerical Arthur McCash, who will say only, “Your mother is away. Doing something important.”

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