From Shelf Awareness:
Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient may be set in an Italian villa, but its truest subject is how the supposed nationality of the heavily bandaged patient being cared for by a nurse named Hana, who is loved by a Sikh sapper named Kip, has changed societies around the world. All sorts of ties to Great Britain, from armaments to spycraft to education to commerce, are examined through the lives of characters from and in other countries.
You may have loved the film adaptation ofAtonement by Ian McEwan, but do yourself a favor and read the book so that you are able to see McEwan’s prose vision of how Briony Tallis’s childish spite changes several lives through the war and afterwards. The author’s command of his wartime scenes allows them to remain background without seeming inauthentic. One of the most compelling things about this great novel is how it seems as though it was written in 1946 rather than 2001.