Archive for October 13th, 2011

October 13, 2011

Why “The Cats Table,” by Michael Ondaatje Is Not an Interesting Novel

When I read about this novel, I struck by some of its similarities to my own most recent works, Tardy Son and Tesora. I read an excerpt from his latest novel to find out. But I found that it’s all written from a remote adult’s POV with indulgent explanations about the boy with very little emotional or psychological understanding of him. That may have been all right with The English Patient, but not with this one. Instead of the writing being alive like a teenaged boy is, it’s petrified and dusty and conclusive. Life for a boy of that age might be dangerous in this situation, but it is not boring. He doesn’t seek out answers ontologically. A boy looks for gold and squished bugs and is obsessively optimistic.

It seems the closer a subject is to mine, the further the writing is apart from my style. Here’s a link to a NYTimes review of his new novel.

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