Divisadero

Divisadero

by Michael Ondaatje
3.3 27

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Divisadero 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
verysmallgiant More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, heartbreaking and haunted. The story of the dynamic of a cobbled family and the errors that tear it asunder. Speaks of the growth and stunt of living through tragedy. One of the best books I've read in years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like much of Ondaatje's work, there will be a lot of people who don't get / don't appreciate his work, as he has a very non-linear story telling style. For those with the patience and an appreciation of nuance though, he is simply one of the very finest writers alive. This book, in particular, will challenge readers, as there is much here that is told in almost the way one relates a dream, but the language, the characterizations, and the ability to conjure places, smells, feelings is superb.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story moves across time periods and continents. This is one of those books that I went back and enjoyed rereading immediately; the development of the characters, the places, and the plot lines connecting them all were appreciated even more, with no loss in knowing the whole plot.
Connections between subplots and patterns repeated were subtle and a treasure to find. Very stimulating. The author is extremely talented, as shown by his previous works, and as this is the first one I have read, it prompts me to read more of his novels.
Also, it was special in that parts of it were set in areas in which I have either lived or traveled to: Petaluma, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Santa Maria and the southern San Joaquin Valley, so those sections were even more vivid.

Another story that moves across many time periods and continents, with rich character development, and a very different writing style is The History of Love, and I recommend it highly.
IrretrievablyBroken More than 1 year ago
Some years ago, after Michael Ondaatje had written The English Patient, I finagled an invitation to a private reading held by the Canadian Consulate for an exclusive group of business executives. Upon arrival my husband and I were quickly unmasked as fakes, but, enduring the slings and arrows of whispered remarks and sidelong glances, we held our ground and remained for the reading. When Ondaatje appeared I found him a simple man in dress, humble in manner, and a diffident reader of his works. I recall thinking that if only I wrote prose like his I would strut, not fret, my hour upon the stage. After reading this introduction, you'll probably not be very surprised by my confession that when it comes to Michael Ondaatje's works I'm like a besotted teenager faced with the object of her desire. I find his words magical; his creations dreamlike. Which brings me to Divisadero, Ondaatje's most recent novel, a much debated and often maligned work. In Divisadero Ondaatje explores the bonds of family: the family given us through blood-relation and the family we choose. Anna, is the only daughter of a Northern California widowed farmer who adopts another girl, Claire, when Anna's and Claire's mothers both die in childbirth. Born just hours apart, Claire becomes Anna's "twin." A boy, Coop, the orphaned son of a neighboring farm couple, is already part of the family. Divisadero is the story of these three. We meet them briefly as teenagers, see the family torn apart, then each of them continue their separate lives. Claire and Coop meet again, accidentally, but providentially. Coop's story seems to strike some reviewers as the least satisfactory, charging the writer of having created and then abandoned this character. Coop represents the random violence all of us often face in life through war, fate, or of our own making. Coop's parents were murdered when he was just a boy, he is taken into this neighboring family, then expelled, cruelly and violently. Although he is a temperate man, violence follows him like his own shadow until Claire gently guides him home. This, to me, is a very poignant scene and satisfactory conclusion to Coop's story. But Anna is the focus and storyteller of "Divisadero." Although she leaves home and country, her siblings and father are never far from her heart and mind. She finds her soul mate in the past life of Lucien Segura, a poet whose life story she explores as she settles into his house in the small village in Southern France and chooses his "adopted" son as lover and companion. This is where Ondaatje's writing turns truly magical. As Anna's and Segura's stories intertwine, the scenes become stunningly sensual, gorgeously trancelike. When I finished Divisadero, I felt such a loss, I had to re-read this book at once. I wanted again to take part in the lives of the ill-fated Marie-Neige and her husband, Roman, an incarnation of the enigmatic Coop, all raw rage, which he is unable to verbalize. I wanted again to eat a simple meal of herbs and onions grown in the garden of a small farm house in Southern France on a warm summer's day. And I wanted again to dance with no purpose with a cat. So find yourself a quiet corner in a garden or a sun-filled room and let one of our generation's greatest writers awaken your senses, touch your heart, and seduce you with this magic dance called Divisadero.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story woven by a true master.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written lyrical novel that follows the lives of two women raised by the same father. The cast of characters is very different than his previous novels yet as fully developed as those in his earlier writings. A book to be read and savored. This would be a marvelous book for a book club discussion.
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kyuen1 More than 1 year ago
I've always been a sucker for Michael Ondaatje's writing style. One critic said his writing is akin to drops of rain in a bowl of clear water, and this aptly describes the beauty and clarity found in all his works. However, I've never had an easy time grasping the story firmly. For example, while I dearly love The English Patient, its utterly convoluted (though artistic, I suppose) chronology made me put it off constantly despite my appreciation for his writing. ---Divisadero is different and in my opinion, better than the latter in several aspects. It is clean and simple, and yet its poetic language is even more moving and beautiful than what I'd encountered in his other works. There is a depth and emotion infused in this story that is difficult to describe, but I could feel it profoundly all the same. Perhaps it is because he has painted the lives of very ordinary people in a way that is lyrical but also concise. It is easily relatable but also intriguing; Ondaatje is among the few authors who can plumb his characters' souls so deeply. This was definitely one of those books where, upon completing it, my first thought was "Now THAT is a good book." I think that Divisadero presents Ondaatje in his prime, and I eagerly look forward to the next of his works.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, the prose is good...but to drop 2 of the supposed main characters halfway throught the book was very stange and not in a good way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perhaps a bit more time spent giving life to his characters would have helped to make this dreary, plodding, story readable. In the end he did not think enough of his characters to finish them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author has clearly dropped the ball on this one since he decided not to finalize the tale about two of the main characters. I felt as though several chapters were omitted from the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The English Patient was boring. This is agony. I'm surprised credible reviews from the New York Times and Boston Globe praised this.