My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Building bridges, digging tunnels, baking bread and creeping through silent rooms this novel ties huge endeavors and tiny moments together into a single life. The writing is clear and descriptive, and beautiful at the same time.
"This is the story a young girl gathers in a car during the early hours of the morning. ... She listens to the man as he picks up and brings together various corners of the story, attempting to carry it all in his arms. ... Driving the four hours to Marmora under six stars and a moon."
"They speak quietly, smoking cigarettes. Patrick sees them in the yellow spray of the station lamp. He strolls to the end of the platform where there is darkness. Bush. He feels transparent, minuscule. Civilization now, on this August night, is two men cleaning shoes as they sit on the steps of a train." -- p. 166Numerous characters wander in and out of the story, but Ondaatje keeps them all straight for the reader and the weaving of one into another gives shape to the story as it moves back and forth in time and space.
"The houses at this hour beautiful and large, stray lights within them, and he could see the faint interiors, their privacy an character revealed, each room a subplot." -- p. 243This novel, which I want to reread after I read The English Patient, counts toward the Canadian Book Challenge.