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While densely packed with beautiful, intense images and descriptive passages that show a deep connection to nature and to the human condition, it seemed to me this novel did not deliver a progressive, cohesive story line. The characters appeared to inhabit an non-organized dream world of fantasy that was at times disturbing and depressing. I felt I was caving, groping along dark passageways, shining my headlight on small areas but with no information about where I was going. If you like this sort of narrative style, then this book is for you. If you prefer a more linear method of fiction delivery, then I would steer clear.
However, the author never dissapoints in demonstrating his mastery of image and metaphor and there were some excellently constructed passages in what I would only loosely call a story. It's really poetry, presented in the envelope of prose.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. Ondaatje's writing is incandescent. The structure, as others have noted, is unconventional. It shifts around in time and points of view and the two halves tell stories that are almost unrelated but they explore similar emotional terrain. The reader is absolutely perfect--a beautiful voice, thoughtful in her pacing and emphasis, and the book's many French names are completely natural to her. This is a story about the deepest bonds possible between people and the way they shape our lives.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful