Running In The Family by Ondaatje, MichaelRunning In The Family by Ondaatje, Michael

Running In The Family

byOndaatje, Michael

Paperback | August 9, 2011

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In Michael Ondaatje’s beloved family memoir, fact and fiction blur to create a dazzlingly original portrait of a lost time and place. Ondaatje left Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at the age of eleven. Almost twenty-five years later, he returned to sort out the recollected fragments of experience, legend, and family scandal, and to reconstruct the carefree, doomed life his parents and grandparents had led in a place where couples danced the tango in the moonlight, where drink, gambling, and romance were the main occupations of the upper class. Rich with eccentric characters and captivating stories, and set against the exotic landscape of a colonial empire in decline, Running in the Family is Ondaatje’s unforgettable journey through memory and imagination to reclaim his past.

From the Hardcover edition.
MICHAEL ONDAATJE is the author of six novels, a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. The English Patient won the Booker Prize; Anil’s Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, and the Prix Médicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Ondaatje now lives in Toronto.
Title:Running In The FamilyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.99 × 5.19 × 0.57 inPublished:August 9, 2011Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307401197

ISBN - 13:9780307401199

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very Random Read. I guess me admitting to you that this was a book I read for school is what helps you see WHY I didn't really enjoy Running in the Family. I had high hopes for the story, even though most of my friends who previously read the book hated on it, however, I was equally disappointed as they were. This was one of the most random and confusing stories I have ever read. I totally get that it is a memoir, and the random-ness of the writing style Ondaatje promotes is meaningful and metaphorical (in a way), however, I did not enjoy it. I am writing this review to obviously tell you if I recommend this or not, and even though I was forced to read it for school so I could analyze the author's purpose, I am trying to tell you to steer away unless you enjoy analyzing every bit of a novel for no good reason. This book is... not necessarily about the author's life. It's more about everything that has to do with his life. His family, where he was born, his family's issues, things that run in the family... all of the things that aren't specifically about Michael. What was most interesting is that Ondaatje went from one time period to another so frequently that I was just left confused. The chapters are relatively short, separated into sections that have titles that are supposed to have some kind of metaphorical meaning. I couldn't see it, whoops. There were poems scattered all over the place about feminism, life in Ceylon (which is now Sri Lanka), and weird stories about Ondaatje's family that will put a smile on your face before you realize that... it's just weird. So that is what I got out of this book when I read it for the first time, without going online and reading sources about what others think. However, when I began making notes about this book, I began to see that IF the metaphorical meanings are true, they are beautiful and somehow related to Michael's story. These metaphorical meanings helped me enjoy the book, even though they could truly be based on someone's opinion. Readers will never fully understand why an author wrote a novel or article or... whatever it may be. Running in the Family may be your kind of book if you're some English genius who is the best at analyzing novels and diving deep into them. I am no English major genius, so this was a weird experience for me. If this were written in a normal, chronological order, there definitely would have been some kind of potential for it to be enjoyable.
Date published: 2018-01-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Selective Taste I had to read this for school and had such a difficult time getting through it. It did have some nice segments though.
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Another great book by Ondaatje. Must pick this one up.
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bad I have no idea what I just read but I do know I did NOT enjoy it.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horrible Despite its short length, this book was interminable. There is no clear storyline and the writing is very pretentious.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Ondaatje's memoir was a good read, but not as engaging as his best fiction and poetry. He certainly has an interesting family.
Date published: 2016-11-20

Editorial Reviews

“Brightly coloured, sweet and painful, bloody-minded and otherworldly, [this book] achieves the status of legend.”–Margaret Atwood“Eloquent, oblique, witty, full of light and feeling.…Ondaatje’s knowledge of the fragility and luck of life is very clear. So, too, is the grace and originality of his prose.”–The New Yorker “Ondaatje has produced a remarkable book.…Shimmering through the haze of heat and memory is an impressionistic, sometimes surreal portrait of an exotic time and place now gone, a colonial paradise that had its own rhythms and imperatives.” –Globe and Mail“A beautiful, luscious book. Michael Ondaatje has depicted his extraordinary family, who delighted in masks and costumes and love affairs that ‘rainbowed over marriages’ in the kind of language that makes glory of their lives. He has gone on a poet’s journey to Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and the reader who travels with him enters a truly magical world.”–Maxine Hong Kingston“It sparkles with the intensity and vividness of its multifaceted tales of romance and intrigue.”–Fort Worth Star-Telegram“A brilliant, charming, poetic, hyperbolic holiday of a book.…Ondaatje walks the line between fact and fiction with a delicately rendered delight.”–Vancouver Province“…the brilliant and moving book he has written is original in every way that matters.”–W. S. Merwin“A beautiful, luscious book of discovery and remembrance.”–Hamilton Spectator“With a prose style equal to the voluptuousness of [Ondaatje’s] subject and a sense of humor never too far away, Running in the Family is sheer reading pleasure.”–Washington Post“It dazzles with its range of imagination, richness of language and the consistently involving changes of mood and tempo.”–Toronto Star“This is an intriguing, funny, dream-like book, impossible to put down.”–Winnipeg Free Press“…brief, vivid scenes, moments revived out of remote memories, pictures of the intensities lived by his passionate parents… amid the lush flora, the predatory fauna, and the old-fashioned life of the British colonies. This is great story-telling.…"–Leon EdelFrom the Hardcover edition.