Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje


byMichael Ondaatje

Kobo ebook | April 16, 2009

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From the celebrated author of The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion comes a remarkable new novel of intersecting lives that ranges across continents and time.

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 — of both hand and heart — 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. It is here, outside a small rural village, that Anna becomes immersed in the life and the world of a writer from an earlier time — Lucien Segura. His compelling story, which has its beginnings at the turn of the century, circles around “the raw truth” of Anna’s own life, the one she’s left behind but can never truly leave. And 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 multi-layered 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Title:DivisaderoFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 16, 2009Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307372073

ISBN - 13:9780307372079

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Ondaatje's best This was not the strongest outing for Ondaatje. I would still recommend this to a friend because I believe in reading an author's complete body of work when they are as great as Ondaatje. Give this a shot but if it's your first time reading Ondaatje I'd suggesting starting with In the Skin of a Lion.
Date published: 2017-04-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Divisadero This is the first novel by Michael Ondaatje that I have read. I am charmed by his style which is both lyrical and poetic. He writes about a family in California whose life in some ways parallels the life of a French poet and writer, Lucien Segura, whom the daughter Anna is studying and researching. Perhaps his life becomes a substitute for her own experience with her family whom she has never seen again after a violent incident. The people we meet in Divisadero are unusual, more marginal characters so different and less predictable.
Date published: 2010-04-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Escape For Me, Maybe Not For You Divisadero is not a story about the things that happened; it is a story about the things that were felt, and there is no living author better at telling a tale of feelings than Michael Ondaatje. Ondaatje's prose is poetry, and for me, his poetry is lyrically sublime, in the romantic sense of the word. I am awed by what he does, and I long to do it in my own prose. I don't care whether Anna and Coop and Claire ever find each other through the divisions of solitude they've embraced, and I don't feel at all cheated by never knowing. I don't care how Roman disappeared, where Astolphe comes from, what happens to Anna and Raphael, nor when Marie-Neige died because Ondaatje makes me care more about what they are feeling in the short, intoxicatingly brief moments that he lets me share with them. But more than all of these wonderfully realized characters, I love Lucien. One-eyed, desolate, literary, simple yet complex, war ravaged, marriage ravaged, love ravaged but rich in love, sensuous, sensual, paternal in spite of himself, childlike, needy, giving and other things I am certain I have missed. His story is Divisadero to me, in much the same way that Carravagio was The English Patient. And though his story is inextricably bound to the life of Anna, his literary biographer, illuminating the events of her life and the shattering moment that thrust her old life into the new, it is his love for his mother, his daughter, Marie-Neige, and Raphael that tell the story that reaches me most deeply. I get Lucien in a way I don't get the others, or maybe it is simply that my own internal world most closely resembles his. Whichever it is, I am sad that my time with Lucien Segura -- poet, adventure novelist, lover, soldier, possible madman -- is over. And oh, how I wish I could read his poems and novels. Those fictional works of fiction sound marvelous, but it is not to be, and I imagine the best I can do is return to the pages of [book:Divisadero] when I need to connect with Lucien again. I am afraid that won't be enough, but it will have to do. I had intended to write a review about Ondaatje's use of time and space, his skill with multiple perspectives, his intertextuality, his prose technique, his wide ranging settings, but my review became something other, which is fine by me. And I hope it is fine by you too. But I must add a note of warning for anyone interested in reading Divisadero -- do not expect a classic story with easily wrapped up plot lines and linear movement of action. That is not, and has never been, how Ondaatje works. Come to Divisadero to lose yourself in the lives of fascinating people, to feel what they feel for just a moment. If you're looking for anything else you would be doing yourself a favour by staying away.
Date published: 2009-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites of 2007 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, emotional, physical, and geographical, among others) within the interweaving lives of seemingly disparate characters. Ondaatje’s elegant prose is the highlight, providing just enough illumination while leaving room for open-ended interpretations
Date published: 2008-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Greatness Gone Astray A moving account of a family torn apart by illicit love and desire and how that theme carries on from the past through the present to the future. Ondaatje's writing is indeed powerful, particularly in the overwhelming images he conjures up with his words. But this is not his best novel. The narrative actually loses strength in its progression because Ondaatje lets it get too fragmented, spinning a whole new yarn half-way through without ever tieing up the story as a whole by the end. This is truly unfortunate because it is the account in the first half that commands the most intrigue but is ultimately blown off and leaves us wondering what has become of the characters (especially one) that we have invested so much of our heartfelt sympathy into.
Date published: 2008-07-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Love your writing, Mike, but..... I have become a fan of Michael Ondaatje's writing. I love his style, the nuances, the rhythms, the relationships he builds. I was excited to start this book, and it started out great. What happened to Claire and Coop?
Date published: 2008-07-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from To many books in One There were way too many stories in one book. Only one contained characters I actually cared about. The last HALF of the book did nothing but circle around and around four different characters. Everytime you got engaged in a story a new one started! It seemed to me Micheal Ondaatje had started five short stories and then just stuck them all in one novel. A very disappointing buy.
Date published: 2008-06-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Lives of Friends and Lovers. (thebookblog.ca) Divisadero is the name of the street where Anna, Claire, their father and adopted farmhand Coop (Cooper) begin the tale. Theirs is not the conventional family. Anna’s mother died giving birth to her, and Claire was adopted to keep the former company. Coop was hired to take care of the land the father owned, and yet the four of them created this unusual, comfortable home. It begins in childhood when the two girls are intimately close until the point when a youthful summer affair sends each member spinning in every direction, damaged and wounded. The prose is lovely, quiet, and thoughtful. It reminds me of the way one’s mind works after spending an afternoon lazing around in the sun. The book itself is surprisingly short for its number of pages, maybe due to the inconclusive way it ended. It does the popular Canadian fiction thing, flowing slowly from one thing into another until the tale is decidedly over. I need to get used to this style, since I much prefer the tales where there is a conflict which concludes with a resolution. While stuff does happen in Divisadero, it just appears that little of it means anything. This could be frustrating to a reader, but in this way it emulates life. Maybe what we go through has a meaning, and maybe it’s all just random decisions that eventually lead us to where they are. Think about what this means to you and if you might want to read it.
Date published: 2008-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not exactly my cup of tea A bestseller and a widely featured novel written by an award winning author - nothing should go amiss, right? Beautifully descriptive, but I find it a bit lengthy in narrative. It's a book that would attract a big fan base - just so it's not exactly my cup of tea.
Date published: 2008-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant This book is quite the read. I had to read it a couple of times to understand the nuances fully. Reading it once or reading it three times there is always a certain enjoyment from reading Michael's work. Another winner of a book.
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Obtuse Literature Divisadero held great promise for me. I had enjoyed other stories by this author. Michael Ondaatje has been elevated to a level of the literati where his writing is too obtuse for the consumer. Creeping "Atwoodism " at its worst! There are no cirlcles of stories as the publisher proclaims, only unfinished unsatisfying arcs. I bought this book to read on vacation. I will leave it here. Why waste the space and fuel to carry it home?
Date published: 2007-11-22