Review: The Cat’s Table, by Michael Ondaatje

The Cat's TableThe Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I do have to say I have enjoyed most of what Ondaatje has written. He demonstrates a craftsman’s skill in his art. In The Cat’s Table, for me, that skill seemed laboured, even tired. What had been touted in promotional blurbs as a spellbinding story which promised to be poignant and electrifying, for me stuttered through endless exposition, predictable characters, and ponderous prose.

It is a story about a coming of age of a type, of a mystery uncovered which has life-long ramifications. But the import of these plot devices fades. I do believe Ondaatje is coming to suffer from Thomas Wolfe’s affliction of verbosity, words and words and words simply for the love of them, like an artist using all the colours, all at once, and only achieving muddy brown.

So, alas, another disappointing read for 2022. As always, read if you like. Don’t if not. Art is subjective: a good thing to remember.

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