DRM's Reviews > Coming Through Slaughter

Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje
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Aug 13, 09

Read in August, 2009

I first heard about this from an extra feature on my DVD for Down By Law in which director Jim Jarmusch lists some of his favorite books. The title stuck with me and I found it at Houston's trusty Kaboom Books. This is an immediately engaging collage of the life of jazz progenitor Buddy Bolden and the turn of the century red light district New Orleans he grew up in. The fragmented writing style got me right away but as the book moved along I was a bit frustrated at how it also gets in the way of understanding more about many of the supporting characters (especially Webb). With this style of writing this can be a pretty common problem though and I am a bit biased given that earlier this year I read both Anna Karenina and Sentimental Education in which everyone and their mom is an incredibly multi faceted character. But in the end, this is all about Bolden and Ondaatje does a remarkable job depicting his world. The parade scene finale is pretty stunning and loved the double meaning of the title which won't be clear until the end. Occasionally frustrating but definitely a book that's hard to put down and gets your mind going.
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