If anyone had suggested in the Shetland Library, or the Scarborough Hotel, or any of my other workplaces, that we should have a group hug and then build a duck out of Lego in 30 seconds, to maximise productivity, I’d have laughed.
This is a timely, tiny explosive package of a book – and I use that image advisedly. How do we make sense of violence, the awful damage we inflict on one another? Have we always had victims and perpetrators, bullies and apologists? Why do we build walls?
Novelist Michael Ondaatje revisits the world of The English Patient. In Warlight, Nathaniel, or Stitch (“ours was a family with a habit for nicknames … a family of disguises”), is trying to make sense of his disordered family history.