Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 207
In Michael Ondaatje's Warlight, Nathaniel and Rachel Williams are siblings who are left in the care of a man called The Moth when their parents leave. Nathaniel and Rachel believe they are leaving for their father's job. The Moth is a mysterious character who lives in the same house as them, and has known their family for some time, but Nathaniel and Rachel are not entirely sure how his parents know him, or if they are aware of his criminal tendencies. Their father leaves first, and their mother stays behind to get the children ready for their upcoming school year. The children learn that their mother knew The Moth when they were involved in the war, but again, it is a mystery to them. Then their mother packs a case and says she is off to join their father.
While she is gone, the children get to know The Moth and the cast of characters he is involved with: there’s the Darter, a man they are certain is a criminal, and Olive, one of the Darter’s girlfriends. Nathan finds his own girlfriend at work, a girl who calls herself Agnes Street after one of the houses she and Nathan sneak into to spend time together.