Michael Ondjaatje

Sri Lankan born, English Educated, Canadian citizen Michael Ondaatje may be one of the greatest living novelists in the English language, and in Warlight, he does not disappoint. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak and read from the novel in June 2018 and the tale he told, not only the fictional tale but of the personal experience that he drew from, fascinated me enough to accidentally buy the book twice.

Ondaatje said that with this novel, he was, to paraphrase, interested in exploring the barrier between war and peace. Our narrator is 28-year-old Nathanial. At the beginning of the novel, he tells the tale of his 14-year-old self who, along with his sister, Rachael, has been left by their parents with only a caretaker who has no relationship to the family and is referred to as 'The Moth'. Nathanial gives us an account of what post-war London was like; not quite healed but trying to move on. He works with the dubious 'Darter' doing jobs like washing dishes and smuggling dogs on canals at night and spends his free time pursuing Agnes, who has accessibility to empty houses thanks to her estate agent brother.

The second half of the novel takes a darker turn when Nathaniel, now 25 attempts to put the pieces of his childhood together in a way that makes sense to him. His mother, Rose, is a secret agent with a war-time past. Intertwined with her story is that of Marsh Felon, a childhood friend of Rose. We learn the events that crushed Nat's idyllic carefree childhood experience with the Moth and Darter and brought his mother back to him.

There is an absolute ease to everything Ondaatje writes, from The English Patient to Cat's Table and now to Warlight. It would be hard not to pick this book up and finish it quickly.

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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at oldbagonaplane@gmail.com

Around this time each year, we would create a recap of all our best adventures from the year just passed. As this is 2021, and there were no adventures in 2020, here is a short video montage of all the things we did while we were not doing anything at all.