Years later, Kip thinks of the time he spent with Hana, Caravaggio, and the English patient in a small villa in hills of Italy. He is now a doctor, with a wife and two children, and is permanently busy taking care of his patients. He is happy with his family, whose hands are all brown and who are comfortable in their way of life. Nonetheless, he often thinks of Hana: where she is now, who she is with, what she looks like. She sent him letters for a year, but after receiving no replies, eventually gave up. He thinks of her now, smart and serious, accidentally brushing a glass off a shelf. Kip leans over and catches a fork an inch from the floor, and returns it to the hands of his daughter.
The news of the atomic bomb brings the reality of the outside world back into to the sheltered environment of the Italian villa. When Kip hears about the United States' bombing of Hiroshima, he screams, falling to his knees. His pain comes not only from the shattered lives of the Japanese people, but from the shattering of his own ideals. Despite his older brother's anti-western warnings, Kip has put his faith in the west, adjusting to its culture and doing all he can to save it from destruction. He denies, in his own mind, that the west could be as oppressive to Asia as his brother claims. The explosion of the atomic bomb symbolizes the destruction of Kip's entire belief system. The bomb's intrusion on their villa existence highlights the fact that events and realities are not isolated. What happens in Japan touches the very heart of emotions in a small villa in the hills of Italy. Kip responds to the news of the bomb by running away, escaping his life in the villa. He views his running away as a flight from the oppression of the west. Ultimately, however, Hana's suspicion that Kip can so easily move on is confirmed, as he finds himself tied to the life he once led. Kip's emotional tie to Hana transcends time and geography, and transcends even the great realities of nationality.
The novel's characters frequently mention the idea of "dying in a holy place." Katharine dies in a cave, a holy place to the ancient people of the desert. Patrick, Hana's father, also dies in a holy place, a dove-cot, a ledge above a building where doves can be safe from the rats who try to prey on them. Likewise, Madox dies in a holy place, taking his life in a church England. This idea of death in sacred places recurs throughout the work, but the meaning of such places in the novel is complex. "Holy place" does not signify a place that is holy to individual people: Katharine hated the desert, Patrick hated to be alone, and Madox lost his faith in the holiness of the church. The locations of these respective characters' deaths were not special to the characters themselves. However, the figurative idea of a holy place touches on the connection between actual places and states of emotion in the novel. Emotionally, each of these characters died in a "holy place" by remaining in the hearts of people who loved them. In The English Patient, geography is transcendent, while it is the sacredness of love that endures.