Michael Ondaatje in conversation

By Yvonne D  

In Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel, The Cat’s Table (Cape), an 11-year-old boy boards an ocean liner bound for England from Ceylon, a journey the author made himself in 1954.

For the narrator and his two young companions, the ship becomes a privileged place of freedom as they range ‘all over the place like freed mercury.’ Moving between the time of his seaborne adventure and the boy’s adult years, the narrative brilliantly evokes the contrast between the freedoms of childhood and the burdens of experience.

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