9780307266354

Divisadero

Ondaatje, Michael

ISBN 10: 0307266354 / 0-307-26635-4
ISBN 13: 9780307266354
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 2007
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
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.

Review:
From the celebrated author of The English Patient, comes another breathtaking, unforgettable story, this time about a family torn apart by an act of violence. Divisadero is a rich and rewarding read, one that Jhumpa Lahiri, in her guest review for Amazon.com (see below), calls "Ondaatje's finest novel to date." --Daphne Durham

Guest Reviewer: Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award for her mesmerizing debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies. Her poignant and powerful debut novel, The Namesake was adapted by screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala, and released in theaters in 2007.

My life always stops for a new book by Michael Ondaatje. I began Divisadero as soon as it came into my possession and over the course of a few evenings was captivated by Ondaatje's finest novel to date. The story is simple, almost mythical, stemming from a family on a California farm that is ruptured just as it is about to begin. Two daughters, Anna and Claire, are raised not just as siblings but with the intense bond of twins, interchangeable, inseparable. Coop, a boy from a neighboring farm, is folded into the girls' lives as a hired hand and quasi-brother. Anna, Claire, and Coop form a triangle that is intimate and interdependent, a triangle that brutally explodes less than thirty pages into the book. We are left with a handful of glass, both narratively and thematically. But Divisadero is a deeply ordered, full-bodied work, and the fragmented characters, severed from their shared past, persevere in relation to one another, illuminating both what it means to belong to a family and what it means to be alone in the world. The notion of twins, of one becoming two, pervades the novel, and so the farm in California is mirrored by a farm in France, the setting for another plot line in the second half of the book and giving us, in a sense, two novels in one. But the stories are not only connected but calibrated by Ondaatje to reveal a haunting pattern of parallels, echoes, and reflections across time and place. Like Nabokov, another master of twinning, Ondaatje's method is deliberate but discreet, and it was only in rereading this beautiful book--which I wanted to do as soon as I finished it--that the intricate play of doubles was revealed. Every sign of the author's genius is here: the searing imagery, the incandescent writing, the calm probing of life's most turbulent and devastating experiences. No one writes as affectingly about passion, about time and memory, about violence--subjects that have shaped Ondaatje's previous novels. But there is a greater muscularity to Divisadero, an intensity born from its restraint. 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


Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

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Ondaatje, Michael
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Book Description: Knopf, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First American Edition. Book and DJ are New, First American Edition, S-101, ; 8.43 X 5.85 X 0.73 inches; 288 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 26100

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Book Description: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "Ravishing and intricate . . . Few experiences in contemporary fiction are as sensual and absorbing as making one's way through the pages of an Ondaatje novel. And there is a different, a deeper delight in going through his books a second time to see the secret stitching . . . The question that insistently haunts these elliptical and delicate works is how much their very beauty takes us away from the wars and scenes of great pain they describe, and to what extent, in courting art, they leave real life behind.Divisaderois an epic of intimate moments . . . The book is, among other things, a parable of contemporary America . . . When people call Ondaatje a poetic novelist, they are referring in part, of course, to his rare gift for language and observation. A scene of a boy on a runaway horse during an eclipse is as astonishing and hallucinatory as any such passage I can remember reading. Yet the deeper aspect of his poetic background is that his narratives proceed with the interlaced complexity of a long lyric poem . . . Part of the special delight of reading one of his books comes from the impression we get of a deeply curious traveler opening his worn suitcase and letting all the exotic bric-a-brac he's collected on his journeys tumble out . . . Each of the romances in the book is gorgeous and singular in its effects . . . Ondaatje's ability to fashion scenes that are at once exact and suggestive accounts not only for the sensual tingle of the books, but also for their literary pleasures . . . There is always a clear and unhurried spaciousness to Ondaatje's paragraphs; they proceed with the deliberation and hush of a work of meditation, even while turning their attention to things of the secular world . . .Divisaderoextends the liberating and original territory of that earlier triumph [The English Patient] so unforgettably that it's hard, on finishing, not to turn back to the opening page and start all over." Pico Iyer,New York Review of Books "Exquisitely crafted and imbued with Ondaatje's acutely sensitive intelligence,Divisaderopulls its readers inside the novelist's craft like being inside an intricate pocket watch to learn its movements." Bob Hoover,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Ondaatje's best books are kaleidoscopic meditations on memory, violence, time and sexuality are held together less by linearity than by rhyming action, thematic echoing and inspired juxtaposition . . . One doesn't come to Ondaatje for resolution. One comes for the language, the discreet imagined moments, the exact metaphors, the turn of a phraseand for the thrill of watching a writer attempting, and for the most part, succeeding, in his desire, through juxtaposition, to make the world more than it is." Ethan Rutherford,Minneapolis Star-Tribune "Divisaderoechoes the writer's earlier fiction in its mastery both of storytelling and of fine writing . . . It is beautifully intricate, yet credible, a subtle play on cause and effect . . . Ondaatje's exquisite use of imagery propels his story of loss and displacement to an impressive level of fictional power . . . A subtle, stirring novel, a fine book and an arresting one." Nancy Schiefer,London Free Press(Ontario) "Divisaderois a river of images and scenes that flows through the characters' lives like fate. So, reader, embark and journey in awe of this river master . . .Divisaderois alive, pulsing and irreducible . . . Wonders and genius [have] shaped this design . . . It is a collage, though never random, which artfully revisions the temporal into a masterpiece that will permanently affect the reader." Mary Jo. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0307266354

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Book Description: Knopf, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. New York: KNOPF [2007]. First U.S. edition. First printing. Hardbound. NEW/NEW. A pristine unread copy in dust jacket, very fine/very fine in all respects. Comes with mylar jacket protector. Purchased new and never opened. Shipped in well padded box. (Smoke-free, no marks, no bruises, etc.). Bookseller Inventory # 1110-78

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Book Description: Alfred a Knopf Inc, Westminister, Maryland, U.S.A., 2007. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. RARE Advance Reader's Edition-Not For Sale. 1st Edition-Stated. Has to be a 1st Printing since its a ARC. New copy. Never read. Trade paperback format. Beautiful copy of book and cover. COLLECTOR'S COPY. Bookseller Inventory # 001295

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