‘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.