In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that "pendant off the ear of India, " Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family. An inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer.
In Michael Ondaatje’s beloved family memoir, fact and fiction blur to create a dazzlingly original portrait of a lost time and place. Ondaatje left Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at the age of eleven. Almost twenty-five years later, he returned to sort out the recollected fragments of experience, legend, and family scandal, and to reconstruct the carefree, doomed life his parents and grandparents had led in a place where couples danced the tango in the moonlight, where drink, gambling, and romance were the main occupations of the upper class. Rich with eccentric characters and captivating stories, and set against the exotic landscape of a colonial empire in decline, Running in the Family is Ondaatje’s unforgettable journey through memory and imagination to reclaim his past. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Michael Ondaatje
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2010-12-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
'During certain hours, at certain years in our lives, we see ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that were destroyed... I think all of our lives have been terribly shaped by what went on before us.' Twenty-five years after leaving his native Sri Lanka for the cool winters of Ontario, a chaotic dream of tropical heat and barking dogs pushes Michael Ondaatje to travel back home and revisit a childhood and a family he never fully understood. Along with his siblings and children, Ondaatje gathers rumours, anecdotes, poems, records and memories to piece together this fragmented portrayal of his family's past, his father's destructive alcoholism and the colourful stories and secrets of ancestors both disgraced and adored throughout centuries of Sri Lankan society. In an exotic, evocative portrait of the heat, wildlife, sounds and silences of the Sri Lankan landscape, Ondaatje combines vivid recreations of a privileged, eccentric older generation with a deeply personal reconciliatory journey in which he explores his own ghosts, and how his family's extraordinary history continues to influence his life.
From Michael Ondaatje: an electrifying new novel, by turns thrilling and deeply moving -- one of his most vividly rendered and compelling works of fiction to date. In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys find themselves immersed in the worlds and stories of the adults around them. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner -- his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding, about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a sea voyage. From the Hardcover edition.
Now including an excerpt from Lust & Wonder, a new memoir coming in March 2016. Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs.... Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.
Following the phenomenal success of Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning third novel, The English Patient, expectations were almost insurmountable. The internationally acclaimed #1 bestseller had made Ondaatje the first Canadian novelist ever to win the Booker. Four years later, in 1996, a motion picture based on the book brought the story to a vast new audience. The film, starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche, went on to win numerous prizes, among them nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Worldwide English-language sales of the book topped two million copies. But in April 2000, Anil’s Ghost was widely hailed as Ondaatje’s most powerful and engrossing novel to date. Winning a Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize and the Giller Prize, Anil’s Ghost became an international bestseller. “Nowhere has Ondaatje written more beautifully,” said The New York Times Book Review. The setting is Sri Lanka. Steeped in centuries of cultural achievement and tradition, the country has been ravaged in the late twentieth century by bloody civil war. As in The English Patient, Ondaatje’s latest novel follows a woman’s attempt to piece together the lost life of a victim of war. Anil Tissera, born in Sri Lanka but educated in England and the U.S., is sent by an international human rights group to participate in an investigation into suspected mass political murders in her homeland. Working with an archaeologist, she discovers a skeleton whose identity takes Anil on a fascinating journey that involves a riveting mystery. What follows, in a novel rich with character, emotion, and incident, is a story about love and loss, about family, identity and the unknown enemy. And it is a quest to unlock the hidden past – like a handful of soil analyzed by an archaeologist, the story becomes more diffuse the farther we reach into history. A universal tale of the casualties of war, unfolding as a detective story, the book gradually gives way to a more intricate exploration of its characters, a symphony of loss and loneliness haunted by a cast of solitary strangers and ghosts. The atrocities of a seemingly futile, muddled war are juxtaposed against the ancient, complex and ultimately redemptive culture and landscape of Sri Lanka. Anil’s Ghost is Michael Ondaatje's first novel to be set in the country of his birth. “There’s a tendency with us in England and North America to say it’s a book ‘about Sri Lanka.’ But it’s just my take on a few characters, a personal tunnelling into that … The book’s not just about Sri Lanka; it’s a story that’s very familiar in other parts of the world” – in Africa, in Yugoslavia, in South America, in Ireland. “I didn’t want it to be a political tract. I wanted it to be a human study of people in the midst of fear.” From the Trade Paperback edition.
Bringing to life the fabulous, colorful panorama of New Orleans in the first flush of the jazz era, this book tells the story of Buddy Bolden, the first of the great trumpet players--some say the originator of jazz--who was, in any case, the genius, the guiding spirit, and the king of that time and place. In this fictionalized meditation, Bolden, an unrecorded father of Jazz, remains throughout a tantalizingly ungraspable phantom, the central mysteries of his life, his art, and his madness remaining felt but never quite pinned down. Ondaatje's prose is at times startlingly lyrical, and as he chases Bolden through documents and scenes, the novel partakes of the very best sort of modern detective novel--one where the enigma is never resolved, but allowed to manifest in its fullness. Though more 'experimental' in form than either The English Patient or In the Skin of a Lion, it is a fitting addition to the renowned Ondaatje oeuvre.
The Palestine Festival of Literature was established in 2008. Bringing together writers from all corners of the globe, it aims to help Palestinians break the cultural siege imposed by the Israeli military occupation, to strengthen their artistic links with the rest of the world, and to reaffirm, in the words of Edward Said, 'the power of culture over the culture of power'. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of PalFest, This Is Not a Border is a collection of essays, poems and stories from some of the world's most distinguished artists, responding to their experiences at this unique festival. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, their gathered work is a testament to the power of literature to promote solidarity and courage in the most desperate of situations. Contributors: Susan Abulhawa, Suad Amiry, Victoria Brittain, Jehan Bseiso, Teju Cole, Molly Crabapple, Selma Dabbagh, Mahmoud Darwish, Najwan Darwish, Geoff Dyer, Yasmin El-Rifae, Adam Foulds, Ru Freeman, Omar Robert Hamilton, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Mohammed Hanif, Jeremy Harding, Rachel Holmes, John Horner, Remi Kanazi, Brigid Keenan, Mercedes Kemp, Omar El-Khairy, Nancy Kricorian, Sabrina Mahfouz, Jamal Mahjoub, Henning Mankell, Claire Messud, China Miéville, Pankaj Mishra, Deborah Moggach, Muiz, Maath Musleh, Michael Palin, Ed Pavlic, Atef Abu Saif, Kamila Shamsie, Raja Shehadeh, Gillian Slovo, Ahdaf Soueif, Linda Spalding, Will Sutcliffe, Alice Walker With messages from China Achebe, Michael Ondaatje and J. M. Coetzee
From the celebrated author of The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion comes a remarkable new novel of intersecting lives that ranges across continents and time. In the 1970s in northern California, near Gold Rush country, a father and his teenage daughters, Anna and Claire, work their farm with the help of Coop, an enigmatic young man who makes his home with them. Theirs is a makeshift family, until it is riven by an incident of violence — of both hand and heart — that sets fire to the rest of their lives. Divisadero takes us from the city of San Francisco to the raucous backrooms of Nevada’s casinos, and eventually to the landscape of south central France. It is here, outside a small rural village, that Anna becomes immersed in the life and the world of a writer from an earlier time — Lucien Segura. His compelling story, which has its beginnings at the turn of the century, circles around “the raw truth” of Anna’s own life, the one she’s left behind but can never truly leave. And as the narrative moves back and forth in time and place, we discover each of the characters managing to find some foothold in a present rough-hewn from the past. Breathtakingly evoked and with unforgettable characters, Divisadero is a multi-layered novel about passion, loss, and the unshakable past, about the often discordant demands of family, love, and memory. It is Michael Ondaatje’s most intimate and beautiful novel to date. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Charles Allen
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Release Date: 2017-11-02
COROMANDEL. A name which has been long applied by Europeans to the Northern Tamil Country, or (more comprehensively) to the eastern coast of the Peninsula of India. This is the India highly acclaimed historian Charles Allen visits in this fascinating book. Coromandel journeys south, exploring the less well known, often neglected and very different history and identity of the pre-Aryan Dravidian south. During Allen's exploration of the Indian south he meets local historians, gurus and politicians and with their help uncovers some extraordinary stories about the past. His sweeping narrative takes in the archaeology, religion, linguistics and anthropology of the region - and how these have influenced contemporary politics. Known for his vivid storytelling, for decades Allen has travelled the length and breadth of India, revealing the spirit of the sub-continent through its history and people. In Coromandel, he moves through modern-day India, discovering as much about the present as he does about the past.
With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal,and rescue illuminates this book like flashes of heat lightening. From the Hardcover edition.
Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2009 in the subject English - Literature, Works, printed single-sided, grade: 1.5, University of Bern (Institut f r Englische Sprachen und Literaturen), course: Problems of Intermdiality in Canadian Literature, language: English, abstract: In my paper I shall explore the various functions and connotations of the coast/the beach in Charles Simmons' Salt Water and Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea and substantiate my thesis by scrutinising these works of fiction- the paper's analysis is predominately based on text imminent examinations and their extrapolations- and assess their importance on grounds of the represented relationship between space and identity negotiations in re to the two opposing forces of sexual awakening on the one, and death and detrimental deterioration on the other hand. As the dramatic first sentence in Charles Simmons' Salt Water illustrates, "In the summer of 1969, I fell in love and my father drowned" (13), these two entities are intimately intertwined. Additionally, the beach figures as the uncertain boundary between nature and culture, between the past and the present as well as between the imaginary and the real. Related to this, the beach is a site of wishful thinking, reverie, nostalgia, (unreliable) and mediated memory as well as of the emergence of gripping, obsessive thoughts and their somewhat fabulous constructions. Whenever an act of rejuvenation or a nascent notion of the protagonists' own sense of sexuality is in progress, this development is harshly interrupted by the death of a central figure. I shall elaborate on the claim that here, death acts as an impediment on sexual awakening with unfavourable effects.