Through Nathaniel we see the underbelly of this city recovering from war. People scrabble to make ends meet: travelling the Thames at night picking up contraband greyhounds; working in the laundry of a large hotel – Nathaniel starts to see the way adults organize their lives and abandons school to learn from life. Neither of the children realise their parents work in the post-war secret service and eventually the children are in danger from their parents enemies.
Later in life Nathaniel tries to make sense of his teenage years and work out just what his mother did and why she left them. His isolation and loneliness seem to stem from these experiences and his abandonment of his teenage girlfriend. Ondaatje explores the way memories of past experiences are unearthed and explored when adults reflect on life seeking some understanding their behavior.
Lively discussions resulted from the very mixed responses to this book from our group.
Our April book is Everything Under by Daisy Johnson. Anyone who has read it is welcome to join us in the Library at 2pm, Thursday 17th April.