Monday 21 November 2011

The Cat's Table

Finished November 21
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, read by the author
This is a lovely story, based on Ondaatje's own experience as a child travelling from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to England. The three-week journey has the young boy Michael sitting at the table farthest from the captain's table, known as the cat's table. Also sitting there are two other young boys, and some other interesting passengers. Michael describes the experiences of the journey, his relationships with the other two boys, his cousin Emily (who is also on board), and various other adults. The story includes not only the experiences of the 11-year-old boy, travelling on his own such a great distance, but also his reflections on them, his later analysis of the different interactions, and his life as a result of them.
Ondaatje's voice is wonderful, but it took me a while to get used to it. I listen to books in the car as I have a long commute and his sibilant voice sometimes wasn't clear over the road and car noise. Once I adjusted, I was mesmerized by the voice. Although this is billed as a novel, one can't help but wonder just how much of the story was taken from Ondaatje's real life experience. This story is engaging, surprising and one that will stay with you.

1 comment:

  1. "The Cat's Table" is another beautifully written book by Ondaatje. A completely fascinating tale which grips the reader from start to end. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who loves great writing.