preload preload preload preload

White Egrets: Poems Farrar Straus and Giroux Derek Walcott


30th June 2012 Literature & Fiction 33 Comments

A DAZZLING NEW COLLECTION FROM ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT POETS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In White Egrets, Derek Walcott treats the characteristic subjects of his careerthe Caribbeans complex colonial legacy, his love of the Western literary tradition, the wisdom that comes through the passing of time, the always strange joys of new love, and the sometimes terrifying beauty of the natural worldwith an intensity and drive that recall his greatest work. Through the mesmerizing repetition of theme and imagery, Walcott creates an almost surflike cadence, broadening the possibilities of rhyme and meter, poetic form and language.

White Egrets is a moving new collection from one of the most important poets of the twentieth centurya celebration of the life and language of the West Indies. It is also a triumphant paean to beauty, love, art, andperhaps most surprisinglygetting older.

From Nobel Prize–winner Walcott comes a 14th collection of poems, richly textured in sound and image, and spanning many countries and memories. From his native Caribbean to Italy, Spain, England, the Netherlands, and the United States, Walcott meditates on the passage of time, fallen empires, bygone love affairs, and mortality. Throughout, in metrically complex verses, he writes about the vocation of the poet with a virtuosic ear and a painterly eye (Walcott is also an accomplished watercolor and oil painter): my craft and my craft’s thought make parallels/ from every object, the word and the shadow of the word/ makes a thing both itself and something else/ til we are metaphors and not ourselves/ in an empirical language that keeps growing. Walcott describes a wistful search for home in these poems—Silly to think of heritage when there isn’t much, he writes—while also expressing deep joy and thanks that he finds his true and permanent home in poetry. This is poetry’s weather, he says of a rainy day in Venice, a lovely moment in a beautiful book. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

*Starred Review* Long, lush, yet battering poems that surge and retract and return like the sea, like breath, are Nobel laureate Walcotts forte. In his fourteenth collection, he curves this grand form away from the epic and toward the personal, examining the ruins of love and the puzzles of age as he enters his eightieth year. The title poem, punctuated by stalking egrets and clattering parrots and revved by a tree-tossing storm, is part elegy and part rhapsody and includes this artists credo: The perpetual ideal is astonishment. That is the state of being Walcott summons as he takes measure of yearning, regrets, and resistance to turmoil, reveling, instead, in the exaltation of earth, sky, and ocean as birds embody feelings and poetry itself. In gorgeous evocations of placeSicily, Spain, Italy, London, New York, AmsterdamWalcott writes of the nausea of absence, then rejects despair in a startling moment of connection, addressing, You, my dearest friend, Reader. His tropes swoop in like birds returning to roost, winged words in jazzy riffs that lift and plunge, flashing light and shadow as Walcott, a not-unscarred literary warrior reports, I have kept the same furies. And, looking ahead, So much to do still, all of it praise. –Donna Seaman –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

White Egrets: Poems










  • 33 responses to "White Egrets: Poems Farrar Straus and Giroux Derek Walcott"

  • chrisco
    4:46 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Its just an insanely well written set of poems that transports you to the place, wherever that maybe, the grind, the touch and the the feelings in that moment. Superb!

  • Up the Ante
    4:59 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I thought that this was a beautiful book but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone-if you’re the type whose reading is limited to thrillers and soppy romance then I doubt this would do for you. But if you like imaginative, beautiful, flawless writing, like me, then you’d love this wonderful memoir everybit as much as I did. Ondaatje transports you into his world through his witty, tender and sensual writing…in places it reads like a poem. Running in the Family is sort of like a sketchbook…filled with humourous anecdotes, sensual poems and glimpses of beauty and history…and of course, his outrageous family. Even though I live in Sri Lanka and am familiar with most of the places and things he writes about I was still delightfully stunned by the way he adds new insight and meaning and beauty to these things. Also, I used to imagine that memoirs were dull and boring…but I totally regret my words now. This is hilarious (though in places exaggerated), beautiful and powerful stuff and I give it my highest recommendation.

  • Shaun Connell
    7:01 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Derek Walcott is one of the finest poets of the last 50 years. His command of the English language is astonishing (hawks sitting on the wrist of a branch), his images are unforgettable (the heart that returns like the waves splashing against the rocks), his touches are heart-breaking. There are influences of a European culture that has now gone beyond the English culture so dear to Walcott. His waves’ image reminds me of Rebora at his best (E giunge l’onda, ma non giunge il mare…). White Egrets is not a book you should devour. It is a book one should read slowly, one poem each night, to savour and to remuginate about. It is the book of an old poet who has made peace with his troubled soul and finally accepts his life for whatever it has been. It reminds me of what one of my teachers used to say, that God gave us memories so the we may have roses in December. Walcott has egrets, white egrets…..

  • John Barnes
    8:10 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Derek Walcott is a poet of excellence. I have read everything he has written, over and over and over. This new little volume delights me. I have read it over and over in the few weeks I’ve had it. Anyone who enjoys poetry, knows Walcott.

  • HowmaNoid
    10:06 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    “Running in the Family” is an impressionistically written and reflective memoir of Michael Ondaatje’s eccentric Ceylonese family.

    The book begins with a series of disjointed stories about Ondaatje’s parents and grandparents. I found this part somewhat hard to get through as Ondaatje drops into the stories without providing the reader with the necessary information to understand who the players are and why they are important. However, since the book is highly impressionistic in style, perhaps this approach works. After all, most of us learn about our family history in bits and pieces; we don’t pick up yarns and memory bites in chronological order.

    The third section, “Don’t Talk to Me about Matisse” is a literary treasure! Ondaatje weaves a travel journal with childhood memories. Ondaatje’s journey through Sri Lanka and memory land is depicted with great passion and reflection: “I witnessed everything. One morning I would wake and just smell things for the whole day, it was so rich I had to select senses. And still everything moved slowly with the assured fateful speed of a coconut falling on someone’s head, like the Jaffna train, like the fan at low speed, like the necessary sleep in the afternoon with dreams blinded by toddy.”

    Ondaatje generously included several of his poems in the middle of the book. “The Cinnamon Peeler”, with its strong sensuality, serves as a fitting metaphor for the stories about romantic interludes in the author’s family. “The Cinnamon Peeler” is so beautiful, I plan to commit it to memory.

    Ondaatje dwells on the salient qualities of his relatives and homeland. If this book were a painting, it would be a mostly green wash of color with bright, blood red splashes. The red splashes could represent the tragedy so inherent in Ondaatje’s family history. Alcoholism and mental illness rule the house in this family. There are many humorous moments, however, and Ondaatje delivers them with great bravado: “Lalla’s great claim to fame was that she was the first woman in Ceylon to have a mastectomy. … She kept losing the contraption to servants who were mystified by it as well as to the dog, Chindit, who would be found gnawing at the foam as if it were tender chicken.” These hilarious memories give the reader a reprieve from the underlying tragedy like a much-needed downpour during a drought.

    In the final sections, Ondaatje slowly reveals the many layers of his father’s sad, but remarkable life. One chapter, called “Dialogues” merely consists of bits and pieces of conversations about his father. Whether Ondaatje imagined these conversations or actually heard them retold is not important. They give homage to his father in a unique and poignant way.

    If you’re looking for a travel journal on Sri Lanka, don’t look here. But, if you want unforgettable impressions of an exotic land and a remarkable family, if you yearn for a memoir rendered with the finest of literary care, “Running in the Family” will surely please.

  • carnivore
    11:32 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    “Running in the family” has an extremely fluid and easy feel to it, much like “the english patient” and “in the skin of a lion.” ondaatje’s style is so understated, he involves you in a dialogue as he writes. though this is somewhat of a non-fiction work, it has the feel of a story. It is beautifully written with the abrupt, moody turns of phrase which give the book its readability.

  • metihan
    13:42 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Michael Ondaatje’s “Running In The Family” is a fascinating look into the author’s family and “growing-up” traditions. Despite the fact that I have not been to Sri Lanka, Ondaatje’s masterful use of imagery and local color add substance to what he is writing about. Another thing is the subtle humor throughout the book. I particularly enjoyed the chapter “Lunch Conversation”. It’s quite insightful which is why it strikes a familiar chord in all who read it perhaps. A definite must-read for those who appreciate vivid and unusual use of words to convey the book’s essence.

  • Domain Sales
    17:03 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I look back at this book and think that I read it when I was too young to understand it. The sensory elements of the work are easy to grasp, but the broader questions about family and colonialism and place are ones that I failed to know several years ago as well (maybe?) as I do now. This is a extremely worthwhile read.

  • Chad lituski
    18:22 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    ‘Running in the Family’ is an outstandingly evocative autobiographical account of Michael Ondaatje’s journey back to his beginnings in Sri Lanka. It is an attempt to trace his origin, record the history of his family and understand his father who was a mystery to him. In the process he also provides rare insights into his family and his growth and development such as the early exposure to literature etc. When I read his latest novel, Anil’s Ghost’ I discovered how a few locations, names and places he captured in this book has resurfaced in the novel.

    This is indeed an original piece of work.

    I enjoyed the book full of lyrical writing. But the audio version of the book is better. Ondaatje adds value to his original masterpiece when he reads to you with his soft and hypnotic voice.

    This is one of the rare opportunities of listening to a great writer of our time.

  • Stupid!
    19:41 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    if you ask me to name my favorite poet, without hestitation i would answer derek walcott. any collection of poems by walcott is reason for a personal celebration, White Egrets no less, and in my enthusiasm i would hope that you find in the poems in this book by mr walcott at least some of the pleasure that i do.

    when speaking of poetry, there’s always talk of the line. one from White Egrets chosen at random:

    `hide her face in mist and the barred sun shrivel’

    i remove my finger from the page and look up and see the line is from the poem, Epithalamium: The Rainy Season. an epithalamium is a wedding song, and the poem was written `For Stephanos and Heather’, a couple who means nothing to me, but who must be very special to mr walcott for him to dedicate a poem to them. their wedding in a rainy season is captured in the one line i selected at random; the mist become veil and the sun shrivel the appearance as the folds created by the drape of the veil, as well as being an allusion to a shakespearean sonnet. any line by walcott would reveal as many gifts. as a reader i am honored to be recipient of his poems, several of them, like White Egrets, for and in memory of his friends, like the joseph of white egrets, his good friend and fellow nobel laureate holder, joseph brodsky.

    there’s a poem here to president barack obama, Forty Acres, of an engraving:

    `Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving -
    a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,
    an emblem of impossible prophecy: a crowd
    dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,
    parting for their president; a field of snow-flecked cotton
    forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens
    that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten
    cotton-haired ancestors, … `

    not the american ancestors of mr obama, but the ancestors of a more extended culture, and the direct ancestors of his wife and his daughters who are part of a race who claim him, and he has accepted and claimed as his own through the mingled blood of family.

    and there are other poems of travel, reminiscences, old lovers, aging and the feel of the loss of poetic powers, a trope of old men, real and fictional as prospero, a character from one of walcott’s favorite shakespearean plays. his poetry remains grounded in the west indian island of his birth and the british island that gave birth to many of the poets of a tradition, problematic to him, which he’s honored as one of the tradition’s noblest and most distinguished poets.

    the couplet he inserts in A London Afternoon:

    `but though from court to cottage he depart,
    his saint is sure of his unspotted heart’

    by the 16th century british poet, george peele, entitled A Farewell to Arms, concludes with the couplet:

    `Goddess, allow this aged man his right
    To be your beadsman now that was your knight.’

    no poet serves, or has served, poetry better, than derek walcott.

  • okeh there
    21:17 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    In this magical book what Micheal captures is the essence of a bygone era. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) also had a generation like Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz generation. His parents are from this generation and most of his books, I feel, are influenced by it. My parents were also from this generation and I caught the tail end of it. If any, non Sri Lankan, visits Sri Lanka, after reading this book they will be disapointed. Like the traveller in one of Borges stories, who finds pieces of an ancient map buried in the desert, you will find only bits and pieces of what he describes buried in the present society. Sri Lanka today is a true example of Satre’s dictum “Hell is other people” and his recent book Anil’s Ghost depicts it well. It truly is a paradise lost.

  • Hamada
    23:21 on June 30th, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I read this book for a Canadian fiction class and really liked it. The language was so interesting and different from anything I had read before. It is a wonderful story about a wacky family. There are good times, bad times, funny stories, tragic stories, and just plain wacky events. It really makes you want to take a look into your own family and find out all of the “juicy” details. I really liked the book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting story.

  • offtopic
    0:51 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This continues to be one of my favorite books. I give copy after copy away to new friends when I recognize theirs as families whose best intentions and selfish motivations collided in the making of their lives. While Ondaatje’s post-colonial collage is partly the story of the love and destruction of the idea of Ceylon, it mostly speaks not just of his family, but of the way we all share stories and romanticize our selves. The erotic poem “The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife” is alone worth the cost of the book.

  • Carlos Silva
    2:42 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Walcott is now 80 and while this may not be last verse we get from him, it is unlikely there will be much more to come. These short poems are uniformly excellent to outstanding and display many of Walcott’s greatest qualities. The powerful imagery, his superb ability to evoke landscapes, his deep knowledge of the Western canon, and the often striking combination of nature imagery and psychological insight. Many of Walcott’s favorite themes recur in these poems. His love of his native St. Lucia, the nature of colonialism, the power of the Western canon, and the glories of landscapes. Added to these themes are some strongly elegiac elements including several memorial poems for old friends and meditations on aging and approaching mortality. The image of white egrets recurs in several poems, used to denote permanent features of the natural world but also symbolic of language and art. Different readers will have different favorites. There is a particularly powerful poem dedicated to President Obama, an incredible compliment for a politician. The final poem in this book is a gentle and remarkably evocative meditation on mortality, the nature of art, and Walcott’s love for St. Lucia. A just conclusion.

  • Lamar Dean
    3:59 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Considering that this is in fact an autobiograpy, one can not judge it’s contents. After all, you can not judge ones life, either you like it or not in a sense of discussing literature. But, what you can discuss is the manner in which that biography is written. Ondaatje present’s life of his family trough generations who lived on Ceilon (Shri Lanka), in a series of random images, which are more like picture, than prose. Many times he stops to grasp certain individual and present his little history, his life, which than influenced the rest of the family in some perverse way. When reading this book, experienced reader will find such compositions that corresponds in that what crtics call ‘modern’, others will find interesting and compelling story, which never grows in boredom, with fluent narrative style that keeps ones eyes fixed on pages long after the lights went out.
    Comparing the Ondaatje with other authors of the modern world,
    Ondaatje lacks the one thing that he “must” have when presenting himself in a way he does. By focusing himself merely on a problems of his own, of a personal character in every (which, of course, includes this one)book, he voluntarily forgets that there is other life, other world going around him. When tending to write intelectual prose, one should, at least in one way, give some focus on that matter too.
    But, when all this comes to conclusion, if you like (auto)biograhies – buy this one, if you don’t, skip it. It’s simple as that…

  • Xibbus
    6:44 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    michael ondaatje’s book is one of the few books that i found really easy to read, but when i went back to it i realised there was alot more meaning hidden. it is not only a travel book, but a diary, and a very personel story of a man finding his roots. very touching. i recommend it.

  • Sanjeev Pandey
    8:40 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Perhaps, because I looked so hard through the slapping growth
    (for like and kind). Maybe it’s caused by any growth made while
    the slaps were sent, received, that a sense of the sort
    beyond greatness in the work of this very fallible is met.
    Mind these not. From your sitting stand, read and decide.
    But for me, reading Mr. Walcott here in his humble (however got)
    honest, has set revelation lengths ahead of ego its foe,
    and caused what is post below.

    DRIVING VESSEL

    Be a man of projects. – Scribe Ani

    In double harness, wonder a plague,
    he crossed the threshold of eighty and asked,
    three years back in his Sea-Change,
    whether he (and at himself he laughed)
    would become Superman at seventy-seven.
    Body, ship of state to rend and break;
    closed for repair, rest, nutrition,
    and the ancient’s second medicine, exercise
    award greatness the wreath and dodge of attack.
    Each hand captains their driving vessel,
    Nestor in the cart with Diomedes at a hundred.
    All who on this eye, mouth planet, walked, stooped,
    hewed, and drove from before Abram through
    to a fighter in New York or a diver in Japan.
    `must do more than when they were young,’

    I think of those two Athenians, in (their) Politeias
    who quote another:
    “When a man no longer has to work for a living,
    he should practice excellence.”
    “Eat less and leap more,” Rabelais has
    the peasant ass say to the dandy, court horse.
    And my own tall sire only gave in when stranded,
    garage-less in his Purgatory at eighty,
    final sleep coming six to seven years on,
    and still more man than many.
    A superman at eighty? Life puts legs to it!

    ? Copyright 2010 (17 April-03 June) Joseph Duvernay

  • Luciano Niese
    10:53 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    No author can make every book work. It’s unfair to expect that. This is the first Ondaajate book I read, make that: devoured. I loved the non-linearity, the depth of love for his home country, the characters gathering and separating. I write this review because I believe strongly that Anil’s Ghost is the companion piece to “Running in the Family” and less well-done, less artful. But this book more than makes up for the flaws in the later book. Perhaps the kleig lights of fame are too hot for a writer to work at his best. I say that because the author of this book is so gifted and has so much to evoke that I expect he will do so again, maybe not in his beloved, insane Sri Lanka, or maybe back there again. So, in closing, If you despaired of loving “Anil’s Ghost” read this and you’re efforts will be fully redeemed.

  • MTS Конвертер
    12:42 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book was such a pleasant surprise, with sweet language dripping off both hillarious and tragic events of Ondatje’s journey through life. He crafts the events in the book with absolute brilliance and entices the reader into desiring to visit this magical little jungle of Sri Lanka. I highly recommend it!!

  • Gerri Remigio
    17:36 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Running in the Family is a wonderful autobiography, in the magical-realist, crazy-family-saga vein of Garcia-Marquez or Rushdie. It’s funny, poetic, sensual, moving and strongly evocative of Sri Lanka, the author’s eccentric family, and the sultry damp tropical greenness. It took me until the middle of the book to really get into it, but then i couldn’t stop, and i had to re-read the beginning again; there’s something about the events and the time-cycle he’s describing that throws you right into the middle of things at the beginning, and becomes more understandable and linear from the middle of the book onwards. But it’s well worth any initial confusion, and if you loved the English Patient, this book is a must

  • ProInvestor
    19:53 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I adore Derek Walcott. This book requires rereading to understand, and STILL is more veiled and subtle than his previous books.This is a poignant and touching goodbye to the world as he experienced it. He’s old, he’s ill, he’s waiting for death, and he is grieving the loss of a relationship.

  • Chris D.
    20:22 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Ondaatje makes prose poetic like no other writer, and this is his best example of poetic prose. Divided into many fragments, each fragment is as dense as a small poem, as alive with imagery, and yet still contributes to the narrative as a whole. A wonderful merge of history, fiction, truth, and lie, Running contains not only the most mournful writing I have ever read, but also the most sexually charged poem, and the most loving treatment of an imperfect family. Excellent reading, even on your tenth time through

  • Ross Simmonds
    21:46 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    After having the wildly successful “The English Patient” under his belt, this author and poet of Sri Lankan heritage is wonderful to read. While this book is not really about travel, it is a collection of short montages and recollections wrought by two trips back to Sri Lanka (he now lives in Toronto.) Very mellow and very dusky, and rich with characters and anecdotes that make families the exiting beasts that they are.

  • Ski Easy
    22:02 on July 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I flip through this book on the most frustrating days.
    Tearfully positive and the power of the positivity moistures my dry-cracked abyss of the day.

  • Saijanai
    0:26 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Ondaatje goes back to visit his motherland and the episodes deal with aspects of his family history. The narration is very poetic, the imagery he evokes are at times are close to magic realism. The book is far away from the seriousness of `English Patient’. It is not a travel catalogue either. A lighthearted short lively novel with the flavour of wilderness

  • Mary Dawn Tingal
    2:36 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Ondaatje is an amazing master of words, and this book certainly shows it. I would not recommend this book to an inexperienced reader, for it is challenging, but very rewarding! I am 17 and really enjoyed it. In fact, one evening, I was so entranced by the book, that I caught myself drooling! This is a fine piece of literature!

  • Matthew V
    5:01 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book explains a lot about Ondaatje’s background and the surroundings that may have led him to the life of a poet. The collection of “tales” has a touch of magical-realism, as though they are still looked at through the eyes of a boy. Very different from the English Patient, a lighter read, easy to put down and pick back up. One chapter a night before you go to bed will give you delightful dreams.

  • dlweld
    7:13 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The times in the recent past that we have read about Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in the newspapers has concerned the Tamil Tigers who have finally been crushed and one wonders if they were fighting against a government controlled by Ondaatje-type people. The author’s father was such a dedicated drunkard that its possible he actually was schizophrenic. I like the author best for his humorous detail but he never seems to get hold of a story too well and kind of staggers around with the shreds of it. At the end, I wondered was Doris his mother name or his stepmother’s. Kudos to his mother for actually leaving his father and going to England where she earned her own living. The author doesn’t think much of her but I do. What a brave woman. Is the author also a drunkard, I wonder?

  • Aqua Buddha
    8:12 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    In White Egrets his expressions drip with candor. It is clear that he represents the pulse of Caribbean poetry. He speaks so eloquently about his West Indian existence. “There never really was a `we’ or `ours’ whatever each enjoyed was separate.”

    In White Egrets he has allowed the reader to travel around the world with him and you move to the rhythm, rhyme of his poetry. White Egrets is soaked in imagery, including the paintings of “Frans, Hals,and Rembrandt.” One can metaphorically hear the sounds of this book as his depth details is compelling, original and his observations are sparkling. This book is a composition of varying lengths. He puts his feelings into words as he expresses himself with his own inner voice which for him is a natural beat, as he is unconcerned about the prospect of human opinion or annihilation.

    He is an honest poet as he questions his permanent value, he wonders if he has lost his gift of poetry he wonders if his “gift has withered” but one thing he clearly states and concedes in White Egrets is that if he has truly lost his gift he should grateful. He says “be grateful that you wrote well in this place.” I hope this is not his last. White Egrets is a must have for any library and great gift. White Egrets for me is perfection in its raw form, time indeed as inflicted him with wisdom.

    Brenda McCartney
    [...]

  • maneesh dhir
    9:18 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I took Derek Wolcott’s White Egrets out for a spin. As someone who is not totally into poems I was initially a bit skeptical. But I saw as how it was named one of the NY Times 100 Notable Books fo 2010 and wanted to see what it was all about. His style is quite different than other poets. This may seem trivial but having no title to each poem made it a bit difficult to really go into the poem understanding what it was going to be all about. So you had to learn as you went along. His writing style is oftentimes difficult and I found myself having to read the poems a few times to really understand what they were all about. My favorite poem was Number 27–whiich did in fact have a title–60 Years After. In it, he talks about aging and the effect it has on the body and mind. Overall a nice set of poems and a worthwhile read.

  • Bartek
    11:17 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    fans of michael ondaatje’s poetry will no doubt like this book; however, do to the hit and miss nature of each chapter, i doubt that this book would win him many new fans. an impressionistic collage of place & family members, this book is closer to the ethic of poetry, forsaking narrative structure for short pieces that jump here and there to paint a family in an exotic place and time. plenty of good prose, but lots of the pieces are too random and are just not interesting. worthwhile, but not highly recommended.

  • goulniky
    11:34 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Don’t just stop at The English Patient! Running In The Family is fun and quick reading. Mr. Ondaatje give us a water colour painting of travels with his family to the place of his birth. The book offers thoughtful and sometimes humorous look at his family members! The sights, sounds, smells, and people are so vivid one can almost see the sparkle in his eyes as he recants the memories!–Gisele Hennings

  • Mollie Yafuso
    12:50 on July 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Having read Michael Ondaatje’s work, I am a bit predisposed to enjoy it, but my anticipation did not prepare me for the luscious experience of listening to this work on tape. Mr. Ondaatje’s voice, soft, lilting and hypnotic, was a fabulous presentation for his lyrical writing. I listened to this work on tape in the car, and had to pull off the side of the road, so that I could rewind and relisten to several parts.

  • Leave a Reply

    * Required
    ** Your Email is never shared