Tim's Reviews > Divisadero

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
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Jun 23, 2009

really liked it
Read in December, 2009

Proof that one can pull off a book-length prose poem and not lose narrative momentum, so long as one embraces the collage or montage form as Ondaatje does, sometimes self-consciously, sometimes not (pretty much organic either way though). Montage form seems true to actual experience. Why is it not more used? Can anyone recommend more books that work this way?
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel There's always more Ondaatje, obviously-- I liked Billy the Kid better than the others I've read.

Anne Carson, maybe?

Then there are collagists like Renata Adler and Abigail Thomas. Much closer to memoir, though, and probably not what you're looking for.

Barthelme.

Also, I really, really enjoyed Eisenstein's essays, especially Film Form. Really good on the subject of montage (as you would expect).


message 2: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Adler's work is great, particularly Speedboat (I used to be a devotee of Pitch Dark but now think of it more as a work-in-progress that got published, fascinating but flawed). I don't know Abigail Thomas at all, so will check her out.

I'm about to teach Barthelme's 60 Stories.

Steven Millhauser is another one who uses this to effect, especially in a story like "A Game of Clue."


message 3: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Safekeeping is the Thomas book I've read, BTW.


Claudia Putnam So, yesterday I went to the grand opening of a poetry bookstore (the storefront of a press) in the middle of nowhere in Colorado (http://lithicpress.com/index.php/10-b...) and the festivities included a rather heated panel discussion of modernism. One of the panelists, Uche Ogbije, a very good Nigerian poet, spoke of how Colonialism had imposed this concept of a grand, linear narrative onto peoples for whom a more fragmented, collage, even kaleidoscopic approach to storytelling felt much more natural. So I would say that Ondaatje's approach may be rooted in his Colonial childhood and maybe you could look toward other more Native writers as well. I think there are a couple of Ibo writers--I can ask Uche--for instance. Try to find people less messed up by English.


message 5: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Claudia wrote: "So, yesterday I went to the grand opening of a poetry bookstore (the storefront of a press) in the middle of nowhere in Colorado (http://lithicpress.com/index.php/10-b...) and the festivities ..."

This is so great, Claudia--I love how this resurfaced under your stirring. Timely for me, as it happens. Thank you.


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