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Divisadero Hardcover – Apr 17 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1 edition (April 17 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771068727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771068720
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.7 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #892,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Publishers Weekly

Davis (American Splendor) reads Ondaatje's puzzle of a novel delicately, as if hesitant to jostle a single piece out of place. Often playing emotionally frazzled characters on screen, Davis is far more understated here in offering up Ondaatje's hybrid narrative—one that goes from 1970s San Francisco to early 20th-century France, linking past and present with loose tendrils of memory and history. She does a fine job with the tricky French names and nomenclature, and puts her natural gifts as an actor to good use with her subtle, understated, well-oiled reading. Davis still sounds as no-nonsense as ever, but her skilled reading offers a good deal more patience and tenderness than her often-testy characters do.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Ravishing and intricate . . . Few experiences in contemporary fiction are as sensual and absorbing as making one’s way through the pages of an Ondaatje novel. And there is a different, a deeper delight in going through his books a second time to see the secret stitching . . . The question that insistently haunts these elliptical and delicate works is how much their very beauty takes us away from the wars and scenes of great pain they describe, and to what extent, in courting art, they leave real life behind. Divisadero is an epic of intimate moments . . . The book is, among other things, a parable of contemporary America . . . When people call Ondaatje a poetic novelist, they are referring in part, of course, to his rare gift for language and observation. A scene of a boy on a runaway horse during an eclipse is as astonishing and hallucinatory as any such passage I can remember reading. Yet the deeper aspect of his poetic background is that his narratives proceed with the interlaced complexity of a long lyric poem . . . Part of the special delight of reading one of his books comes from the impression we get of a deeply curious traveler opening his worn suitcase and letting all the exotic bric-a-brac he’s collected on his journeys tumble out . . . Each of the romances in the book is gorgeous and singular in its effects . . . Ondaatje’s ability to fashion scenes that are at once exact and suggestive accounts not only for the sensual tingle of the books, but also for their literary pleasures . . . There is always a clear and unhurried spaciousness to Ondaatje’s paragraphs; they proceed with the deliberation and hush of a work of meditation, even while turning their attention to things of the secular world . . . Divisadero extends the liberating and original territory of that earlier triumph [The English Patient] so unforgettably that it’s hard, on finishing, not to turn back to the opening page and start all over.”
–Pico Iyer, New York Review of Books

“Exquisitely crafted and imbued with Ondaatje’s acutely sensitive intelligence, Divisadero pulls its readers inside the novelist’s craft like being inside an intricate pocket watch to learn its movements.”
–Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Ondaatje’s best books are kaleidoscopic meditations on memory, violence, time and sexuality are held together less by linearity than by rhyming action, thematic echoing and inspired juxtaposition . . . One doesn’t come to Ondaatje for resolution. One comes for the language, the discreet imagined moments, the exact metaphors, the turn of a phrase–and for the thrill of watching a writer attempting, and for the most part, succeeding, in his desire, through juxtaposition, to make the world more than it is.”
–Ethan Rutherford, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Divisadero echoes the writer’s earlier fiction in its mastery both of storytelling and of fine writing . . . It is beautifully intricate, yet credible, a subtle play on cause and effect . . . Ondaatje’s exquisite use of imagery propels his story of loss and displacement to an impressive level of fictional power . . . A subtle, stirring novel, a fine book and an arresting one.”
–Nancy Schiefer, London Free Press (Ontario)

Divisadero is a river of images and scenes that flows through the characters’ lives like fate. So, reader, embark and journey in awe of this river master . . . Divisadero is alive, pulsing and irreducible . . . Wonders and genius [have] shaped this design . . . It is a collage, though never random, which artfully revisions the temporal into a masterpiece that will permanently affect the reader.”
–Mary Jo Anderson, Chronicle Herald (Halifax)

"Comparisons of Ondaatje to Faulkner and García Márquez are apt. His sense of time, like theirs, is one of curling, recurring flow . . . Divisadero finds Ondaatje in familiar form, which is to say eloquent, finely tuned form . . . [It] wends a crooked path, which is part of its great magic and beauty . . . The second part of the novel moves supplely from one character to another. Along the way come many gorgeous passages, many dreamlike sequences . . . Ondaatje is a very sexy writer and understands well the ins and outs of the courtly-love relationship . . . Ondaatje has always been a real craftsman, spending his one true commodity, time, with the utmost patience and care.”
–Jon Raymond, Bookforum

“A bleakly moving rendering of lives disrupted by brutality and loss . . . Ondaatje demands a reader’s trust, an acceptance that a work of fiction can accommodate the peculiar alignments that bless and bedevil everyday life . . . The crosscurrents of his writing flow and ripple against each other as poems might. Sequences of images set themselves out in their individual beauty and lucidity . . . Give in to Ondaatje and his language will seduce you . . . He is at his best let loose in the dream world of his warmblooded imagination . . . There is something endearingly human about this book, for all its art.”
–Erica Wagner, New York Times Book Review

“The more you give Divisadero, the more it gives in return . . . Mr. Ondaatje does not write in mundanely linear ways, nor does he see events as isolated instances. There are always webs of memory, slips of time and divisions in experience to break the spell of an ordinary world . . . Divisadero has a highly literary sensibility . . . Anna finds meaning in her own life by plumbing the history of Lucien, now a famous dead literary figure[;] trust Mr. Ondaatje to express [this] exquisitely . . . Since Mr. Ondaatje writes with such grace, he brings a haunting, sensual delicacy to this latter part of Divisadero . . . He is a writer of intense acuity. His eminence is well earned.”
–Janet Maslin, New York Times

“[The] division between the world as it is and the world as we imagine it to be is what gives our lives such poignancy, Ondaatje seems to be saying . . . This is a beautiful idea . . . With this elegant, singular book, Michael Ondaatje proves that it is not too brilliant a lodestar to shove straight into the heart of a novel.”
–John Freeman, Sunday Star-Ledger

“[Divisadero has] a heck of an opening. And Ondaatje delivers on the promise of that beginning . . . His poetical skills are much in evidence in this novel . . . He’s prodigiously talented, conjuring richly detailed scenes with a minimum of words . . . Beautiful and haunting.”
–Soyia Ellison, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The prose is rich in image and ideas . . . Doubling adds resonance to the Segura chapters, which are full of charming anecdotes . . . Ondaatje may well leave you hungry–for more of Claire, for the fate of Coop, for Anna in old age, for a sample of Segura's writing or for an easier, neater plot. But he could never leave you empty, the way even the fattest beach read can.”
–Jeffrey Burke, Bloomberg News

“Hauntingly beautiful . . . What an unusual, and unusually rich, experience it is to read Divisadero, the new novel by Michael Ondaatje . . . Ondaatje expertly shift[s] into different voices and tenses, disrupting the conventional chronology with the easy grace that has become his hallmark . . . There are countless examples of perfect phrasing in Divisadero, and those who spend time within its pages will discover even more proof–not that they needed it–of Michael Ondaatje's peerlessness as a storyteller and poet.
–Jeff Turrentine, Washington Post Book World

“Magnificent . . . Ondaatje pulls off the plotlines masterfully . . . He introduces memorable characters [and] scenes of majestic texture and captivating imagery . . . From its first to last telling sentence, this aesthetic tale, poetic with human detail, is a rare and precious pleasure.”
–Don Oldenburg, USA Today

“One can consider Divisadero a novelistic evocation of Buddhist ideas . . . In ways too myriad to enumerate, the luminous last hundred pages complement and refract what came before.”
–Art Winslow, Chicago Tribune

Divisadero plays whimsically with chronology and memory, with fantasy and historical fact . . . Ondaatje also employs a more unusual tactic: having followed three California characters from childhood into their 30s, he spins around and takes two mature French characters in order to trace their histories back in time. It's a brilliant maneuver . . . Misty abstraction is always the danger of lyrical imagination [but] Ondaatje’s success as a novelist is due, in large part, to his consistent ability to avoid that pitfall.”
–Marcela Valdes, San Francisco Chronicle

Divisadero is powered by narrative force and contains finely chiseled characters. [It] is also a book profuse with poetic imagery, profound themes and the delicate architecture of open verse . . . Stunning bits of lyrical observation turn up on almost every page . . . Breathtaking.”
–John Barron, Chicago Sun-Times

“Ondaatje knows the value of dramatic action and strong, sympathetic characters, and is working at his peak in this book.”
–David Walton, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“An exquisitely realized novel . . . The most soulful writers, like the great jazz musicians, will keep finding new ways to play the same gorgeous notes again and again. Michael Ondaatje’s voice–his prismatic perspective on time and memory, on the elegiac repetitions of life–is so particular and distinctive that you can spot it at 20 yards . . . Divisadero is a haunting, meticulously conceived novel . .... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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