"Ravishing and intricate. . . . Unforgettable." —Pico Iyer, The New York Review of Books“My life always stops for a new book by Michael Ondaatje. . . . [Divisadero is] a mosaic of profound dignity, with an elegiac quietude that only the greatest of writers can achieve. . . . Ondaatje's finest novel to date.” —Jhumpa Lahiri"The more you give Divisadero, the more it gives in return . . . . [Ondaatje] is a writer of intense acuity." —The New York Times"Brilliant. . . . Divisadero plays whimsically with chronology and memory, with fantasy and historical fact." —San Francisco Chronicle
What an unusual, and unusually rich, experience it is to read Divisadero, the new novel by Michael Ondaatje -- like going for a walk in a familiar neck of the woods, getting lost and then discovering an entirely new neck of woods filled with unknown wonders. The title provides only the subtlest of clues: It's the name of the San Francisco street on which one character, Anna, lives. Within the story, it's mere trivia; none of the novel's action takes place there, and Anna herself only mentions her street in passing. But Ondaatje apparently loves what that word connotes -- a line between two realms, separating them but also hinging them. And how appropriate, for Divisadero is ultimately a story about two worlds divided by decades and oceans, but connected by clarion, undiminishable echoes.
The Washington Post
… [Ondaatje] is a writer of intense acuity. His eminence is well earned. This book is initially difficult, but the more you give Divisadero, the more it gives in return.
The New York Times
Davis (American Splendor) reads Ondaatje's puzzle of a novel delicately, as if hesitant to jostle a single piece out of place. Often playing emotionally frazzled characters on screen, Davis is far more understated here in offering up Ondaatje's hybrid narrative-one that goes from 1970s San Francisco to early 20th-century France, linking past and present with loose tendrils of memory and history. She does a fine job with the tricky French names and nomenclature, and puts her natural gifts as an actor to good use with her subtle, understated, well-oiled reading. Davis still sounds as no-nonsense as ever, but her skilled reading offers a good deal more patience and tenderness than her often-testy characters do. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 16). (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Along with a mysterious guy named Coop, Anna and Claire help their father on his Northern California ranch, circa 1970, until a terrible incident sends Anna on the run. Ondaatje's first novel in six years; with an 11-city tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Poetic intensity trumps structural irregularity and storytelling opacity in the celebrated Ontario author's intense fifth novel (Anil's Ghost, 2000, etc.). Its several stories unfold within two distinct clusters of narratives. The first begins in California in the 1970s, when Anna and her half-sister Claire (a "foundling") are separated after their father discovers teenaged Anna in the embrace of their hired hand Coop (another orphan). He beats the younger man nearly to death and is himself attacked by his half-crazed daughter. Thereafter, the story is distributed among Coop's education as a poker player and misadventures among his criminal associates; Claire's attempt to rebuild her life as a public defender's legal researcher (which leads her to a brief chance reunion with Coop); and Anna's pursuit of an academic career as a specialist in French literature, which takes her to the French countryside and the home of late author Lucien Segura-whose life, as reconstructed from her research, is most cunningly connected, incident by incident, image by image, to the story of Anna's destroyed family. Echoes of Ondaatje's Booker Prize winner The English Patient (1992) resound throughout Lucien's story, in which a withdrawn, dreamy boy is shaken into life when a gypsy pair-volatile Roman and his teenaged bride Marie-Neige-are given land to farm in exchange for work performed for Lucien's stoical single mother Odile. The illiterate Marie-Neige becomes Lucien's soul mate, eventual intellectual companion and the love of his life-until war takes him away from their quiet village, returning him home only when it is too late to reclaim the unlived life that will endure only in the books he writes.Intricate, lyrical, profoundly moving, this brilliantly imagined meditation on love, loss and memory unforgettably dramatizes the rueful realization that "[t]here is the hidden presence of others in us . . . [and] We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross."Not to be missed. First printing of 200,000