Benjamin Chandler's Reviews > The Cat's Table

The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
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's review
Nov 06, 2011

it was amazing
Read in November, 2011

[Another entry in my reading-theme: Books About People Away from Home.]

I have had mixed feelings about Michael Ondaatje novels. Granted, I have only read half of the novels he has written, but they always struck me as being written beautifully, but lacking in a driving plot or meandering though seemingly unconnected moments. I would finish his book and think, "That was lovely, but what am I supposed to take away from it?"

This novel was different, however. There is a very clear plot, pretty well rounded characters, some very well established themes and explored ideas, and, as always, Ondaatje's lovely language. In fact, the book made me want to write.

(In short, the plot is of a writer named Michael remembering his boat ride from his homeland of Sri Lanka to a new life in England, where his mother waits for him. Along the way, he makes 2 solid friendships, meets all manner of interesting people, spies on moments of intrigue and secrets, and generally finds himself in situations bigger than he understood. Thematically, the book discusses how impressions from tiny moments can make lasting effects on a life, the desire to save someone; the bonds between friends, family, lovers, and nostalgia; and a general celebration of childhood. At times the book wanders into moments that seem just barely within the reach of believability; sometimes this bothered me, other times it added a hint of playful fantasy to the book.)

There's a part of me that wants to give the book only 4 stars, as it will probably not go down in my mind as one of my favorite books, but since I was always eager to get back to reading the book (a rare occurrence), I found it so well-written, and it inspired me to want to write again, I decided to award it with a full 5 stars.

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message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I think I will read this one. Maybe I can get it on the kindle. I couldn't get Harry Potter on the kindle so I'm kind of suspicious now as to what they have.

Benjamin Chandler Sarah wrote: "I think I will read this one. Maybe I can get it on the kindle."

I read it on the Kindle.

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