This story, by author Michael Ondaatje, opens with a poetic comment by its narrator, Anna, setting the stage for the artistic prose to follow. Part One of the novel is entitled Anna, Claire, and Coop.
In the opening lines, Anna introduces Claire, who sits upon a horse that can be “fooled only once a day.” Anna refers to Clair as “my sister.” The details of this remarkable relationship unfold slowly, offering intrigue and delicious family secrets that envelope Coop in the telling.
This novel captured me with its delightful phrase construction and gentle pace. Having been so completely transported to a world of pain and possibility, I never wanted to leave. I reveled in the intricacies of each chapter, experiencing along with the characters their tribulations and triumphs.
Although Mr. Ondaatje’s Divisadero begins with Anna’s narration, the story’s point of view fluctuates. But because this is so subtly accomplished, only later did I become fully aware of the shifts from first to third person and back. The author is also expert at setting a scene without an excess of words. One sentence of an historic event flows into the mundane of a current affair without conscious disruption of thought.
The lives of Anna, Claire, and Coop will always remain vivid in my mind. Not only because the author drew each character in wide, and then intimate, strokes. But because he also told their stories with raw emotion intact, leaving the reader to adjust accordingly.
Having said all this, my discontent became boundless when Part Two of the story opened and closed with little further reference to characters I had taken to heart. My desire for closure was met instead with disappointment.
Next up for review is: