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Running in the Family Paperback – International Edition, November 30, 1993
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Eloquent, oblique, witty, full of light and feeling.…Ondaatje’s knowledge of the fragility and luck of life is very clear. So, too, is the grace and originality of his prose.”
–The New Yorker
“Ondaatje has produced a remarkable book.…Shimmering through the haze of heat and memory is an impressionistic, sometimes surreal portrait of an exotic time and place now gone, a colonial paradise that had its own rhythms and imperatives.”
–Globe and Mail
“A beautiful, luscious book. Michael Ondaatje has depicted his extraordinary family, who delighted in masks and costumes and love affairs that ‘rainbowed over marriages’ in the kind of language that makes glory of their lives. He has gone on a poet’s journey to Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and the reader who travels with him enters a truly magical world.”
–Maxine Hong Kingston
“It sparkles with the intensity and vividness of its multifaceted tales of romance and intrigue.”
–Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“A brilliant, charming, poetic, hyperbolic holiday of a book.…Ondaatje walks the line between fact and fiction with a delicately rendered delight.”
“…the brilliant and moving book he has written is original in every way that matters.”
–W. S. Merwin
“A beautiful, luscious book of discovery and remembrance.”
“With a prose style equal to the voluptuousness of [Ondaatje’s] subject and a sense of humor never too far away, Running in the Family is sheer reading pleasure.”
“It dazzles with its range of imagination, richness of language and the consistently involving changes of mood and tempo.”
“This is an intriguing, funny, dream-like book, impossible to put down.”
–Winnipeg Free Press
“…brief, vivid scenes, moments revived out of remote memories, pictures of the intensities lived by his passionate parents… amid the lush flora, the predatory fauna, and the old-fashioned life of the British colonies. This is great story-telling.…"
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An engaging insight into Ondaatje's family background. With the backdrop of Sri Lanka and two generations of his family and their engaging eccentricities to draw on, it is written... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr Jefferson Godwin
Michael Ondaatje make place come alive like no other writer I have read. This books makes me see colors, it's that good. Read morePublished 6 months ago by dawnsue
Great book. My son had to prepare a project on it at school and he enjoyed it very much.Published 8 months ago by Connie Cantillo
For one thing, it should be noted that this memoir is not strictly nonfiction, as Ondaatje himself acknowledges near the end of the book. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Laura A. RIchardson
Where to start? This book reads like the writer is either heavily medicated or suffering from dementia.Published 12 months ago by Kindle Customer