Divisadero

Divisadero

Book - 2007
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A family is riven by an act of love and an act of brutality; a writer stands in the waist-high grass and wonders if he has found a place to call home; a boy sits with a young woman in the shade of an apple tree and reads to her of heartbreak and intrigue.

Divisadero is psychologically intricate, visually ravishing, devastating and beautiful.

The spellbinding story begins in the 1970s, on a farm in northern California, near to what had been Gold Rush country, and then moving into the raucous world of Nevada's casinos. There is a father, a daughter, Anna; an adopted sister, Claire; and an enigmatic young man named Coop. A traumatic event unexpectedly shatters their makeshift family and sets each of them on a separate course, until, years later, the past once again enters their lives.

The breathtaking second part unfolds in the stark landscape of south-central France, where Anna discovers echoes of old memories in the story of a well-known writer, Lucien Segura, who lived at one time in the small, isolated house she occupies - a story that leads back to the early part of the century.

Gorgeously written and with characters who will stay with us for the rest of our lives, Ondaatje's fourth novel brings together all of the elements for which his fiction is celebrated. In Divisadero , Michael Ondaatje is at the height of his artistic powers.
Publisher: 2007
ISBN: 9780747589242
Branch Call Number: AF ONDA

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RogerDeBlanck Jun 19, 2018

As with his other novels, Divisadero is rife with Ondaatje's signature themes of crushing loss, afflicted memory, and the shattering forces of violence. With a story that stretches over centuries and across continents, Divisadero links nuances between the lives of a torn-apart family in California and the life of a 19th century writer in France. Changing narrators and alternating between past and present, Ondaatje investigates the split-second actions that determine fate. He also focuses on the chance encounters that steer destiny and the sudden awakenings that reveal blistering truths. Although Divisadero explodes with intensity and beauty, which can feel either harrowing or breathtaking, the disparity of the two diverging narratives between settings in California and France feels unresolved. Regardless, Ondaatje makes exquisite use of language to explore an array of wounded characters. His prose carries a resourcefulness that delivers a spellbinding reading experience and challenges the commonplace product of so many contemporary novels. Ondaatje is a writer of great imaginative depth and daring who always offers up a mesmerizing story and a rewarding aesthetic experience.

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frankkeber
Jul 20, 2016

Divisadero seems like a squandered opportunity, as the first part of the book is captivating and is mostly well written, making for an intriguing set-up to the rest of the novel, which overall, fails to deliver on this promise, as it suffers from a second half that does not feature as sharp of prose and has a narrative that lags, leading to a unsatisfying conclusion. This second half further seems aimless, as when the reader finally reaches the ending, none of the core issues that the novel had built-up seem to matter; dually with the core themes of the work. Thereby, my rating of average reflects the novel, as the book seems incomplete as an experience, that will leave the reader unfulfilled.

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okaykate
Jul 05, 2015

Beautiful, lyrical writing. The landscapes are characters and the characters are daring.

b
BurtonP
Apr 24, 2015

Starts with Californian historical background about a father, 2 daughters, Anna and Claire, and orphan- Coop; gains momentum to an extremely drastic storm both outside and within a cabin. Great story so far. I was provoked by the father's action in how he dealt with Anna (tragic!). The story then goes into Coops casino life. I thought about buying this book for my dad who loves cards and gambling. An engaging read but the story ends with Coop getting brain damage from a bad beating- then: THE END. The book carries on with a completely different story altogether about Anna's life in France and a book review she's writing about some man long dead. BORING; no cohesiveness to this story-very disappointing.

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Eosos
Apr 09, 2015

One of the best outcomes from listening to the author read his own book last time I picked up his work is that I now hear his voice when I'm reading his other books. His writing style is so distinctive that it's not hard to evoke that voice when I'm reading.

This particular story is the best of his that I've tried so far. Which I personally find odd as it has so many aspects that often bother me with other stories, such as the non-ending and abrupt storyline switch. But I found myself enthralled by the introspective style and the more than wonderful writing.

DBStewart Nov 09, 2013

A lyical and enchanting writer, I would gladly abide for a time in the world of any one of his books and this one was no exception. He is a keen observer of the landscape, both of the natural world and of the human heart. I thank him for yet another wonderful book.

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gloryb
Aug 28, 2011

This novel disappointed me. Even those parts that others found intriguing...Cooper, Anna and Claire stories set in US... were a bit of a yawn for me. I really don't want to read several pages on the process of using opiates like heroin. Made me wonder if Ondaatje even needed to do research on that topic. I closed the book when half way through the author starts another story line set in France.

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tamaravh
Jun 17, 2011

Only the first half of this book is good - but it is the most accessible and enjoyable book by Ondaatje that I've ever read.
I'd tell anyone who asked me to go ahead and try it out - but remember, only the first half is worth the read.

k
Kevint40
Dec 04, 2009

A great novel, beautifully written, I've listened to the audio book version several times, it is that good.

d
dotdotdot
Sep 16, 2009

Beautiful words and descriptions. I was left wanting by the end. There seemed to be more that needed to be written about the characters and their interconnection ... or were the characters merely a part of another book by the "old" writer?

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