Reviews of English Patient, the (1992)
Review by islander255 (2007-03-01)
Hmmmm. . .
Well, the book's better than the movie, I'll give it that. It's a lot more poetic, and it doesn't seem as boring (it's a book, after all, so it has more leeway with the length).
Even so, I'm glad I watched the movie first, because it goes in a more chronological order with its two story lines, while the book seems to skip around wildly between the past and the future without much warning. If I hadn't watched the movie, I would have been lost for at least half the book.
But sometimes this method works towards the book's advantage. Giving nothing away, the book gives away the ending of the movie somewhere at the halfway point, so when this sad event happens, it isn't as disappointing.
The movie was a real bummer of a disappointment--very depressing and not too happy. The romance was sordid and the characters a bit too selfish. But in the book the characters are a whole lot more likable, which makes for a more pleasant read. It also helps that Michael Ondaatje is a poet, so the prose is beautiful and artistic.
In all, a pretty good read. If this sounds like your type of book, or if you liked the movie, go ahead and read it.