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Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

Divisadero (2007)

by Michael Ondaatje

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,038745,063 (3.52)129
In California, then the Nevada casino's, 1970 a makeshift family of a father, daughter, adopted daughter and farm hand's lives are shattered by a traumatic event and they are sent off on separate courses.
  1. 00
    Three Junes by Julia Glass (eveninglightwriter)
    eveninglightwriter: While Ondaatje is definitly more poetic in his descriptions, Julia Glass is just as enjoyable. I really felt myself swept away by both books. There seems to be a strong sense of place and time that both writers portray beautifully.

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» See also 129 mentions

English (70)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (72)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
Read it for the prose, he's a great writer who writes landscapes beautifully, and people quite well, if not as beautifully as the people. He takes you to some beautiful places. There's a temporal and story shift towards the end of the book that I did not like at all because it took me away from characters I was enjoying to one I had no connection with, but I would read the book anyway. ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
His dreamily seductive writing will beguile and hold the reader. Occasionally, when Ondaatje comes down to earth, such as a mention of the Persian Gulf war, does he lose the spellbinding quality with a reminder that there is a real world out there. It's not that this is poetic in a flowery way, in fact there are some brutal scenes in this diverging (divisidero?) story yet they do not detract from its elegance. However, to take in the subtleties, Ondaatje's novels require the reader's attention, this one maybe more than any other. The strange thing about reading Ondaatje is that I can hear his velvet voice, in the same way I can hear my mother's voice when I read her letters. ( )
  VivienneR | Jan 3, 2019 |
Four stars for the first two-thirds of the book. After that it went off on a tangent with someone who was previously a minor character. Three stars for that section. ( )
  DougJ110 | Aug 4, 2018 |
Still enraptured by the echo of the book, its pluristic stories, its fragmented parallels, and intertwined chronologies. Each character is complex in his/her rudimentary need, hurt, distance, memory, and desire. Each story is a vocal cry of what remains hidden and painful; each history and scar, a viable window into the heart of human frailty, hopelessness, yearning, and courage. It's a potent book! ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
As of July 2016, the average LibraryThing rating for this book is 3.51. After reading and alternately speed reading through the second half of the book, I actually feel that average rating is generous.

Divisadero was a complete disappointment from start to finish. The only interest it held for me was the connection to California, as I am familiar with some of the settings. Otherwise the book was fragmented, the characters were flat, parts of the story were boring and the lack of dialogue between characters drove me nuts.

The worst aspect was the author began with one story and set of characters, abandoned them midway through the book and started in with a different set of characters in the past. The only connection between the two was Anna (depicted in the first part of the book) and her research about French poet Lucien Segura. The second part of the book morphed into a story about Segura and for the most part I was left thinking, WTH happened? There are the makings of two independent books here. I guess this was supposed to be some literary device in which readers are left to draw conclusions about the first set of characters by comparing and divining the parallels in their story with the second set of characters.

The is the first novel I have read by Michael Ondaatje and unfortunately it wasn't a pleasant reading experience. Although I understand some readers liked this novel and love the author's writing style, it just didn't work for me. This is one time I am especially jumping for joy that I bought a used copy for 99 cents. Perhaps Ondaatje's other novel The English Patient would be more to my liking and it certainly has a much higher rating on LibraryThing.

Recommended For: I am not really sure. Maybe lovers of literary fiction who enjoy being put through the wringer to make sense of a story and don't need to feel connected to the characters. ( )
  This-n-That | Jul 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Ondaatjeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Calil, Augusto PachecoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For John and Beverly
and in loving memory of Creon Corea
- remembered by us as 'Egilly"
First words
When I came to lie in your arms, you sometimes ask me in which historical moment do I wish to exist.
Wij hebben kunst opdat wij niet door de waarheid zullen worden vernietigd (Nietzsche)
“There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross.”
So we fall in love with ghosts.
With memory, with the reflection of an echo, a gate opens both ways. We can circle time. A paragraph or an episode from another era will haunt us in the night, as the words of a stranger can.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.52)
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1 13
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