the English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (1992)

A Canadian nurse is alone with a nameless patient in a deserted Italian village at the end of WWII. The patient (English?) remembers every grain of the Saharan desert and what happened there but that is all he talks about. The girl is in love with the patient. A man, a former thief, who turns out to be a long lost friend of the girl turns up after hearing a strange rumour. And then an Indian sapper in the British Army shows up, disarming mines where he finds them. Then the girl falls for the Indian and they become lovers. Meanwhile, the former thief is trying to find out who the patient is, making him talk while being on morphine. Within the story there are stories about their past lives.

I think this is the first time I have been offended by the word fuck. It didn’t fit in with the beautiful sentences and descriptions. It was a book I read in between classes and waiting for my sister at Schipol. It was also a book that made me want to read other books to get more knowledge about the war and mapping the deserts. And I can’t wait to find out what the 5th graders make out of this book.