The English Patient

1992 novel / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The English Patient is a 1992 novel by Michael Ondaatje. The book follows four dissimilar people brought together at an Italian villa during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War. The four main characters are: an unrecognisably burned man — the eponymous patient, presumed to be English; his Canadian Army nurse; a Sikh British Army sapper; and a Canadian who describes himself as a thief. The story occurs during the North African Campaign and centres on the incremental revelations of the patient's actions prior to his injuries, and the emotional effects of these revelations on the other characters. The story is told by multiple characters and "authors" of books the characters are reading.

Quick facts: Author, Cover artist, Country, Language,...
The English Patient
First edition cover
AuthorMichael Ondaatje
Cover artistCecil Beaton
GenreHistoriographic metafiction
PublisherMcClelland and Stewart
Publication date
September 1992
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)
Preceded byIn the Skin of a Lion 

The book is, in part, a sequel to the 1987 novel In the Skin of a Lion, which continues the story of characters of his stories, Hana and Caravaggio, as well as revealing the fate of the latter's main character, Patrick Lewis. It won the 1992 Booker Prize, the 1992 Governor General's Award and the 2018 Golden Man Booker.

The book was adapted into a 1996 film with the same title.[1] It was in early development in August 2021 for a new BBC television series, co-produced by Miramax Television and Paramount Television Studios.[2][3]

In 2022, the novel was included on the "Big Jubilee Read" list of 70 books by Commonwealth authors, selected to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.[4]