The Cat's Table
From Michael Ondaatje: an electrifying new novel, by turns thrilling and deeply moving -- one of his most vividly rendered and compelling works of fiction to date.
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly "Cat's Table" with an eccentric and unforgettable group of grownups and two other boys. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys find themselves immersed in the worlds and stories of the adults around them. At night they spy on a shackled prisoner -- his crime and fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever.
Looking back from deep within adulthood, and gradually moving back and forth from the decks and holds of the ship to the years that follow the narrator unfolds a spellbinding and layered tale about the magical, often forbidden discoveries of childhood and the burdens of earned understanding, about a life-long journey that began unexpectedly with a sea voyage.
From the acclaimed author of The English Patient and In the Skin of a Lion: a stunningly beautiful and moving new novel about a boy's life-changing journey from Ceylon to England in the 1950s.
"One of the most admirable and enthralling literary novels of the year" * Daily Mail * "Extraordinary" * Guardian * "Superbly poised between the magic of innocence and the melancholy of experience" * The Economist * "Michael Ondaatje's impressive new novel, containing dreams and fantasy between a ship's flanks...is, in the most etymological way, a wonderful novel: one full of wonders" -- Philip Hensher * Daily Telegraph * "Atmospheric, elegiac and at times, like Ondaatje's most famous novel, The English Patient, unbearably poignant" -- Sebastian Shakespeare * Tatler *
Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka in 1943. In the 1950s he moved to England, and went to school in south London. In 1962 he emigrated to Canada, where he has lived ever since. His books include his memoir, Running in the Family, numerous collections of poetry, and five novels - including The English Patient which won the 1992 Booker Prize.