288 pages, 8.66 × 5.91 × 0.97 in
August 30, 2011
McClelland & Stewart
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0771068646
ISBN - 13: 9780771068645
Read from the Book
He wasn’t talking . He was looking from the window of the car all the way. Two adults in the front seat spoke quietly under their breath. He could have listened if he wanted to, but he didn’t. For a while, at the section of the road where the river sometimes flooded, he could hear the spray of water at the wheels. They entered the Fort and the car slipped silently past the post office building and the clock tower. At this hour of the night there was barely any traffic in Colombo. They drove out along Reclamation Road, passed St. Anthony’s Church, and after that he saw the last of the food stalls, each lit with a single bulb. Then they entered a vast open space that was the harbour, with only a string of lights in the distance along the pier. He got out and stood by the warmth of the car. He could hear the stray dogs that lived on the quays barking out of the darkness. Nearly everything around him was invisible, save for what could be seen under the spray of a few sulphur lanterns—watersiders pulling a procession of baggage wagons, some families huddled together. They were all beginning to walk towards the ship. He was eleven years old that night when, green as he could be about the world, he climbed aboard the first and only ship of his life. It felt as if a city had been added to the coast, better lit than any town or village. He went up the gangplank, watching only the path of his feet—nothing ahead of him existed—and continued till he faced the dark harbour and sea. There
From the Publisher
From Michael Ondaatje: an electrifying new novel, by turns thrilling and deeply moving -- one of his most vividly rendered and compelling works of fiction to date.
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys find themselves immersed in the worlds and stories of the adults around them. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner -- his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.
Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding, about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a sea voyage.
About the Author
MICHAEL ONDAATJE is the author of novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and eleven books of poetry. His novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize; another of his novels, Anil's Ghost, won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Medicis.
#1 – Maclean’s Bestseller #1 – Globe & Mail BestsellerA Globe and Mail Best Book A New York Times Notable BookLONGLIST 2013 – IMPAC Dublin Literary Award“A tour de force....startling, enchanting.”—Maclean's “Ondaatje slowly unravels a tapestry of images and dramatic (and exotic) tableaux…. [He] creates fascinating visual and sensual effects.” —Toronto Star “Ondaatje’s most intimate yet.... Wonderful, offering all the best pleasures of Ondaatje’s writing.” —Globe and Mail “Ondaatje's most accessible, compelling novel to date. It may also be his finest...A breathtaking account not only of boyhood, but of its loss....Universal in its themes, heartbreakingly so, and a journey the reader will never forget.” —Vancouver Sun, (Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald) “Ondaatje here fashions an entire world…. Is there a novelist who writes more compellingly about tenderness than Ondaatje?... Breathtaking.” —Montreal Gazette “A convincing and genuinely moving narrative.” —National Post “Michael Ondaatje wows with his tale of three boys who find friendship and intrigue on a sea voyage carrying them to the brink of adulthood.” —Chatelaine“The mystery and magic of The Cat’s Table – and this can be said of all of Ondaatje’s writing, including his best-known novel, The English Patient (1992) – lies in its sinuous narrative weave between present, past and a future sometimes contemplated, sometimes fated, and then always inhabited…. As the latest of Ondaatje’s artful and glowing geographies and his