Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje (adventure)

Published by McClelland & Stewart

What attracted me to this book?  
I read The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje while I was writing a nineteen year old who goes on a life-changing journey. I read The Cat's Table because I wanted to see how a master handles some of the same elements I was exploring.

What I found...
As I began to read, I was surprised at loud the author's voice was. Show don't tell, I kept thinking. Then when the narrator finally takes over, he truly takes over and no one else is heard. 
I wondered if the author had worried that the adult voices would overwhelm the boy's voice. Or is it because the author wants the reader to test out what it is like to see everything, experience everything from a distance? The boy's view point is skillfully conveyed. And throughout the book, despite or perhaps because the adult characters are so jarring, I sought out the narrator's voice--like a calming port in the storm.

Quotes that charmed me...
'[T]hree of us were smoking twigs broken off from a cane chair that we lit and sucked at... Cassius was eager that we should try to smoke the whole chair before the end of our journey.' (p. 19)

'There is a story always ahead of you.' (p. 181)

'[H]e was saying the line with a syrup of scorn all over it.' (p. 195)

Did page 93 prompt you to laugh?

The narrator wonders:  'Had she become the adult she was because of what had happened on that journey?' The voyage was only 21 days long and yet it had a profound and lasting effect on the characters' lives.

What short period of time had a profound effect on your life? Wedding? Pregnancy? Trip? University? Or...