Beejay Silcox reviews 'Warlight' by Michael Ondaatje

Beejay Silcox reviews 'Warlight' by Michael Ondaatje

Warlight

by Michael Ondaatje

Jonathan Cape, $29.99 pb, 290 pp, 9781787330726

‘Only the best art can order the chaotic tumble of events. Only the best can re-align chaos to suggest both the chaos and order it will become.’

Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion (1987)

In a cheerless London basement, a young man sifts through the bureaucratic detritus of World War II: ‘to unearth whatever evidence might still remain of actions that history might consider untoward’. The project is called ‘The Silent Correction’ – a furtive dimming of the national memory. Warlight, Michael Ondaatje’s effulgent new novel, is a story of half-lights and half-truths – a novel of matchlight, gaslight, limelight and moonlight, sodium light and storm light, bonfires and bomb-fires. A novel in chiaroscuro.

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Beejay Silcox

Beejay Silcox

Beejay Silcox is an Australian writer, literary critic and cultural commentator, and the recipient of ABR’s Fortieth Birthday Fellowship. Her award-winning short fiction has been published at home and internationally and recently anthologised in Meanjin A-Z: Fine Fiction 1980 to Now, and Best Summer Stories 2018. Her story ‘Slut Trouble’ was commended in the 2016 Jolley Prize and republished in Best Australian Stories 2017. She is currently based in Cairo - writing from a house in the middle of an island, in the middle of the Nile. 

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