Author: Michael Ondaatje
First of all, I must bashfully admit that I've never read any of Ondaatje's works before!! And Oh, What a fabulous read it turned out to be...
Set in the 1980s, the story begins with Anna, Claire and Coop living in a small farm in Petaluma, California. Anna's mother dies in childbirth and her father brings home not just Anna but Claire too, another orphan born in the same hospital, to raise them as his own. Coop, a boy in the neighborhood farm, joins Anna's family after his parents were killed in a local violence. Coop works in the farm all day, tending the cows and horses, while the girls swoon over him. Then, the inevitable happens. Anna and Coop fall in love. While Anna and Coop enjoy one of their most intimate moments, her father storms in and launches an assault on Coop. Despite Anna's plea to save Coop, her father, raging with anger, tries to murder Coop. Coop manages to flee and settles down in Nevada to become a gambler. Anna's resentment towards her father forces her to abandon the farm and go to France. She seeks refuge in an old mansion, whose former owner is a famous French Writer named 'Lucien Segura'. Claire makes living as a researcher for a public defender office. The family divides and tears apart. One event alters everything and their paths don't intersect for many years later.
Now, the story comes to an abrupt halt. Halfway through the book, Ondaatje begins a new story, that of a French Writer named 'Lucien Segura'. He recounts Lucien's life history through Anna and how it mirrors her own life in a bizarre way, bringing back memories from the past. As a reader, it bemused me a bit in the beginning, as it all seemed totally unrelated. But, as I continued to read (and reread quite a few times), I could appreciate the sublime beauty hidden in the passages and how the similarities reveals itself in a most beautiful, but subtle way. It proved to be a difficult read at first, but Ondaatje's writing style is so divine and mesmerizing, I began to savor every page and every word. Not too often you come across a work of such calibre. The luscious details, the poetic style and the captivating story could simply leave you awestruck!
My Rating: 4.5/5
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