In the final days of World War II, 20-year-old Canadian nurse Hana attends to a patient in a bombed-out Tuscan convent who was burned beyond salvation when his plane crashed. Lying motionless on the bed, he recalls fragments of the story of his passionate love for someone else’s wife.
The novel is peppered with exciting details of desert expeditions and bomb disposal against the background of the Second World War in North Africa and Italy. A bit of detective work is necessary: Ondaatje has laid out the novel as a labyrinth of episodes and mixes perspectives, locations, and time levels, but it is worth following his trail.
An award-winning novel that was also successfully filmed.