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Running In The Family by Michael Ondaatje

Running In The Family (original 1982; edition 1982)

by Michael Ondaatje (Author)

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1,287226,086 (3.85)85
Title:Running In The Family
Authors:Michael Ondaatje (Author)
Collections:Your library, eBooks
Tags:501 Must-Read, Fiction, Autobiography

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Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje (1982)

  1. 10
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (stevereads)
  2. 00
    Bone China by Roma Tearne (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both books tell stories of upper class Sri Lankan families, and both are lovely.
  3. 00
    Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes (Emydidae)
  4. 01
    Out of Egypt: A Memoir by André Aciman (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these are family memoirs with a light-hearted tone, although Out Of Egypt has a rather more sombre background setting.

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English (21)  German (1)  All (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Still love it. A quirky little memoir about family with some awesome stories told so casually you just believe them, even when he tells you they might not be true. ( )
  MizPurplest | Sep 21, 2015 |
Elegant, multi-faceted account of returning to Sri Lanka and exploring his own and his relatives' memories of the life of a rackety, eccentric Ceylonese family in his parents' and grandparents' generation. As always with family memories, different people remember different things, and the picture doesn't quite add up: Ondaatje doesn't attempt to force it into artificial unity.
Ondaatje visited Sri Lanka at the end of the seventies, before the communal violence became serious, and he only refers very obliquely to the political problems of the island. They don't belong in this nostalgic account of how things were, but of course you can't read the book without keeping in mind the contrast between his idyllic picture of the thirties and forties and the grim reality of the eighties. ( )
  thorold | Jan 6, 2015 |
I think Michael Ondaatje is a wonderful author, and I have enjoyed several of his books. However, reading about the irresponsibility and eccentricity of his Dutch/Sinhalese family grated after awhile so that I quit reading about halfway through the book. Kudos to the author for becoming such an outstanding author despite his heritage. ( )
  WintersRose | Nov 30, 2014 |
I don't think I looked carefully when I picked this up at Bookcrossing and didn't realize it was a memoir and expected a novel but it was a very enjoyable memoir. Very evocative, much more than narrative and beautifully written. I think perhaps I enjoyed it a bit more than the two novels I've read.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Ondaatje’s prose is intensely evocative, impressionistic, magical writing. He writes of the smells and sounds of Ceylon, flowers that only bloom in the night, drunkenness, gambling and intoxicating love affairs. He writes of falling asleep in the afternoon, the curling beauty of the Sinhalese alphabet, the tree he climbed as a boy on his family’s estate. He writes about strange dreams, lizards, and crumbling rose palaces. This is a dream of a book, part poem, part family history. It represents to me all that is beautiful in language, in poetic imagery, and the construction of writing. His prose stuns me, it changes my feelings, the way I see the world and experience itself.

This book is described as being ‘postmodern’, an assessment I thoroughly agree with. One of the hallmarks of postmodernism, to my mind, is work that is self-referential. What I love about Ondaatje’s books is that he examines narrative structure. He did this beautifully in ‘Divisadero’ where the narrative resembles a sort of tree with each story growing out of the next; limb upon limb. In ‘Running in the Family’ he places fragments side by side; poems, dreams, memoirs, memories, impressions. The fragments then lift and form and create a whole in the mind. The past and present intermingle. It’s very beautiful. It’s the sort of writing that I am intensely interested in. Like all of Ondaatje’s books, this work is deeply intelligent, multi-layered, rich, and dripping in poetry. I read this book very slowly, drinking it in, I never wanted it to end. ( )
  Sophiejf | Sep 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679746692, Paperback)

In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that "pendant off the ear of India, " Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family. An inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An autobiographical journey of discovery gathers together fragments of memory, experience, and family history in order to understand the meaning of his parents' legacy and his own heritage.

(summary from another edition)

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