Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I just finished Divisadero, the latest in fiction by Michael Ondaatje. Divisadero is a beautifully written novel. The language is fluid and emotional. Perhaps it is too emotional or sentimental, at least with the last third of the novel. The first part of the novel introduces the reader to Anna and her family in the 1970s and it takes us from their childhood, through their personal evolutions after the family is splintered. I spent the second part of the book longing to know what happens to Anna, Claire and Coop.

In the second section, Ondaatje takes us into the life of the author Anna is studying. The life of this author is connected to Anna’s current lover, who knew him as a boy. It’s an interesting story. The style changes here, the story seems to float along, moving away from the excitement and urgency evoked by the first section.

I feel as though Divisadero should have been two novels. They can remain connected, like In The Skin Of A Lion and The English Patient. There are definite parallels between the life of Anna and the life of the author she studies. There are fractured families, secret love affairs and solitude. The narration changes throughout the entire novel, but that’s easy enough to follow; each character has their own voice. It’s the two stories, yes connected, but not necessarily needing to be in the same book. I might have liked it better it the story came back to Anna, Claire and Coop in a more decisive way. Though I liked it, I find myself unsatisfied with the ending.

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