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Divisaderoby Michael Ondaatje
Reading Ondaatje's new book, Divisadero, is like listening to great music. You are caught up in the moment, the elegiac writing, and propelled into a different reality. The crescendo brings it altogether, the passion, the years of hurt and pain, and the healing power of time. Like great music, you will need to listen to this book again and again, each time discovering new depths and greater understanding.
Synopses & Reviews
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 multilayered 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.
"Ondaatje's oddly structured but emotionally riveting fifth novel opens in the Northern California of the 1970s. Anna, who is 16 and whose mother died in childbirth, has formed a serene makeshift family with her same-age adopted sister, Claire, and a taciturn farmhand, Coop, 20. But when the girls' father, otherwise a ghostly presence, finds Anna having sex with Coop and beats him brutally, Coop leaves the farm, drawing on a cardsharp's skills to make an itinerant living as a poker player. A chance meeting years later reunites him with Claire. Runaway teen Anna, scarred by her father's savage reaction, resurfaces as an adult in a rural French village, researching the life of a Gallic author, Jean Segura, who lived and died in the house where she has settled. The novel here bifurcates, veering almost a century into the past to recount Segura's life before WWI, leaving the stories of Coop, Claire and Anna enigmatically unresolved. The dreamlike Segura novella, juxtaposed with the longer opening section, will challenge readers to uncover subtle but explosive links between past and present. Ondaatje's first fiction in six years lacks the gut punch of Anil's Ghost and the harrowing meditation on brutality that marked The English Patient, but delivers his trademark seductive prose, quixotic characters and psychological intricacy. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Divisadero flows like a symphony of distinct movements." Chicago Sun-Times
"Ondaatje is a master at constructing breathtaking passages." Boston Globe
"Divisadero is art; it is stuffed with unbearable love, and it is magnificent." Miami Herald
"[A] beautifully crafted tale of separated sisters and torn-apart lovers." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Episodes are boiled down to their essential elements, distilled but dramatic, resulting in a mosaic of profound dignity, with an elegiac quietude that only the greatest of writers can achieve." Jhumpa Lahiri
"Divisadero is easy to read, not because its theme and plot are simple but because the reader simply 'wants' to read it." Booklist
"Each of his books is filled with passages of such finesse and vividness that they become a part of us." New Yorker
The eagerly awaited novel by the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient and Anil's Ghost.
A new novel by Michael Ondaatje is a major publishing event, and one that defines any publishing season. Divisadero, Ondaatje's magnificent new novel, is psychologically intricate, visually ravishing, devastating and beautiful. It promises to be his most successful hardcover publication yet.
Michael Ondaatje's eagerly anticipated new novel, Divisadero, unravels a haunting story that ranges from northern California to central France, introducing characters who become part of our own lives. Divisadero brings together all of the elements for which Michael Ondaatje's fiction is celebrated.
About the Author
Michael Ondaatje is the author of four previous novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. The English Patient won the Booker Prize; Anil's Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, he now lives in Toronto.
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