by Michael Ondaatje
A novel like a painting, not without plot but not exactly systematic either. Nicholas, a daredevil immigrant bridge worker, saves a nun from falling off. One Patrick Lewis, sometime explosive engineer, falls in love with the lover of a missing millionaire. Then he falls in love with her friend, Alice, who might be the ex-nun. Alice dies an unnatural death. Caravaggio, the thief, befriends Patrick. As the narrator says, “Trust me, this will take time, but there is order here, very faint, very human.” It’s a beguiling, well thought out story of how various people become connected, and of a strong, righteous love. The prose is masterful, poetic, dreamy and dark, the descriptions rich and the dialogue sparse, as befits the manly, tough characters.