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Ondaatje's oddly structured but emotionally riveting fifth novel opens in the Northern California of the 1970s. Anna, who is 16 and whose mother died in childbirth, has formed a serene makeshift family with her same-age adopted sister, Claire, and a taciturn farmhand, Coop, 20. But when the girls' father, otherwise a ghostly presence, finds Anna having sex with Coop and beats him brutally, Coop leaves the farm, drawing on a cardsharp's skills to make an itinerant living as a poker player. A chance meeting years later reunites him with Claire. Runaway teen Anna, scarred by her father's savage reaction, resurfaces as an adult in a rural French village, researching the life of a Gallic author, Jean Segura, who lived and died in the house where she has settled. The novel here bifurcates, veering almost a century into the past to recount Segura's life before WWI, leaving the stories of Coop, Claire and Anna enigmatically unresolved. The dreamlike Segura novella, juxtaposed with the longer opening section, will challenge readers to uncover subtle but explosive links between past and present. Ondaatje's first fiction in six years lacks the gut punch of Anil's Ghost and the harrowing meditation on brutality that marked The English Patient, but delivers his trademark seductive prose, quixotic characters and psychological intricacy. (June)
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*Starred Review* The new novel by the author of The English Patient (1992) is easy to read, not because its theme and plot are simple but because the reader simply wants to read it. Told from alternating points of view, the narrative might not have worked. But Ondaatje's experience and skill prevent fatal fragmentation. The story begins in California in the 1970s, with a quiet man who lost his wife in childbirth raising his two daughters, Anna and Claire, and tending his farm with the help of a young man, Coop, who he has more or less adopted. When the maturing Anna and Coop fall into a sexual relationship and are discovered, much to his horror, by Anna's father, a bolt of violence springs up like a ferocious storm, and Anna and Coop flee forever--never to see each other again. The shadow--no, the determining force--of this horrible event on how these three individuals lead the rest of their lives is the tripartite tale Ondaatje follows over the course of the next several years. So the reader experiences an initial sense of segmentation, but it dissipates in the face of strong thematic connections between what are not really segments at all, but rather, layers to the story. The novel's title, not idly chosen, refers to a San Francisco street name derived from the Spanish word for division. What this at once powerful and beautiful novel is about is the division of these three lives into two parts, a bifurcation that occurred when Anna's father found things out and exploded. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
It is awsome's quality. I received very soon from the store after I order onlie within a week. I thank and love it not even 'Like'.Published on Nov. 2 2012 by Liuchuan
Divisadero delves into how people's fragmented lives are united by a common desire for understanding and reconciliation. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2011 by PeterJ
too many stories and ideas-i don,t like this kind of writing-i like a fiction to have a story and not the writer,s views of the world-this seems like the writer decided to write... Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2010 by Mary Gina Machado
The writing is beautiful, the characters of Anna, Claire, Coop are well defined but I personally failed to see the continuity between their story and that of Segura and his... Read morePublished on April 28 2009 by Montcler
A close runner-up for my favourite book in 2007 was Divisadero. Another sublime read by Ondaatje that, as the title implies, examines the divisions (intentional, unintentional,... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2008 by Steven Teasdale
The author's style of writting is what makes this book great. The story would not have been interesting if it wasn't for his way with words.Published on Aug. 29 2008 by Amazon Customer
In Northern California teenage sisters Claire and Anna live with their father and work the family farm together with Coop, a boy who is brought into the family from a neighboring... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2008 by Teddy
I was planning to lambaste this book unmercifully for its seemingly inexcusable digression in the middle of the book, where it wanders away from its three main characters and... Read morePublished on March 31 2008 by Gordon Neufeld
I would be getting interested in a plot line and it would be dropped. The last part of the book - Lucien's life, was uneven (to me) and lacked a strong focus. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2007 by Donald W Norris