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Publisher's Summary

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 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. 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.
©2007 Michael Ondaatje; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A haunting, sensual delicacy....he is a writer of intense acuity. His eminence is well earned. This book is initially difficult, but the more you give Divisadero, the more it gives in return." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Pamela Harvey on 05-30-07

Baffling

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.

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14 of 16 people found this review helpful


By Robin Dreyer on 01-12-10

I loved this

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.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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