by Michael Ondaatje
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The writing in this novel was spare and elegant and the depiction of life on a ship in the 1950s through the eyes of a young boy (now grown) was captivating. About three-quarters of the way thought Ondaatje shifts focus from the events on the ship to things that happen later in the boy's life. I didn't think this part of the novel worked as well. The voice of the boy was very familiar by that point and the more sophisticated/cynical view of the man was jarring to me.
There were some great lines in the novel:
"So we came to understand that small and important thing, that our lives could be large with interesting strangers who would pass us without any personal involvement." (p. 129)Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka (the setting of his novel Anil's Ghost, which I loved) , but he lives in Toronto. There is also a tiny bit of this story that is set in British Columbia. I am counting this book toward the Canadian Book Challenge and it is one of the books from my pile for the 2014 TBR pile challenge.
"... we improved as well as damaged each other" (someone talking about their spouse, p. 138)