Trish's Reviews > Divisadero

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
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's review
Dec 04, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, 2008-read
Recommended to Trish by: Tash
Read in December, 2008

God I did not like this book. Really, really did not like it. I read all the 4 and 5 star reviews, I get what people are saying, and I'm just not there. Why get us interested in characters and then abandon them? and why spend time telling us boring things about them (like a whole paragraph describing how she planted seeds in the field by scattering them instead of burying them) and then we find out about major dramatic events only in one passing sentence told as a part of someone else's narrative (like "------ was put in prison for nearly killing a man in a jealous rage"). This was like a bunch of pieces of stories. I get it - Divisadero. They're being divided. Lots and lots of divisions. And yes, we have a dark and stormy night, and bad things happen, and the snow comes down, and people are feeling upset - Isn't this a bit heavy handed? Never mind that setting a book in Northern California should prevent an ice storm from occurring (and no, it doesn't work for me to throw in a line later saying it was a rare event). And the last thing that drove me crazy was how the book just leaves out the How of things. There is no connection from one event to another - you are just supposed to leap. They know each other, and now they are sleeping together. We see no evidence of romance building, but boom there it is. So, it was not believable, and just felt like some clever writerly experiment. Which was not a pleasure to read.
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Reading Progress

12/09/2008 page 83
28.82% "I'm annoyed - this takes place in N. Calif, but he has a tornado warning, warm thundershowers, and snow. None of which happens near Sonoma!"
12/12/2008 page 120
41.67% "OK, it's improved, but I always have a hard time reading about people in love with junkies."
04/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Deodand That thing about major dramatic events told in one sentence is a tic of Ondaatje's - he does it in his other books as well. I really liked this book but I can also see why people would find it annoying.

Heather Although I liked this book, I also see and agree with what you're saying.

Keegan B I HATED this book. I found it chuck full of boring and irrelevant information describing the characters. The interesting parts were limited to one or two sentences...followed by scores of pages of mind numbing drivel before the author baits you into the same thing...

Bxrchk I felt as if the first half was one plot with intertwined characters whereas the second half was a completely different plot with no connection.

sendann Because it isn't always about entertaining passive readers with likable characters doing things from beginning to end. I think 'active reading' is the idea with a book like this.

message 6: by Luann (new) - added it

Luann Thank you for your honest review of this novel. I got through the first part and thought, "Uh-oh, I'm not sure I can get through this one." and now, I'm not even going to try.

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