Kayla's Reviews > The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje
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's review
Aug 10, 2012

it was amazing

I have wracked my brain, no joke - I actually whipped out a thesaurus in an attempt to find a word that might adequately describe Michael Ondaatje's Collected Works of Billy the Kid, but to no avail. I just don't think there is a word in the English language that would do it much justice. "Beautiful" or even "gorgeous" seem too dreary. No, Ondaatje's book of poems inspired by the infamous American outlaw is something else entirely. Writing from several perspectives, including that of Billy himself, Ondaatje completely transforms and retransforms himself so that he seems to have completely evolved into each character he is writing as. The content is so well-researched and so well-imagined at the same time, a fine line that Ondaatje manages to tread dead-on. Read this book and read it again. Read it forty times and it will ingnite new ideas in new places in you. You will love Billy, you will loathe Billy and you will grieve for Billy as if you knew him personally. That is just some of the magic that Ondaatje achieves. I was completely blown away.
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