Saturday, March 10, 2012


On a cruise some months ago, walking the deck (3 times around equals 1 mile), I followed a couple in their advanced years walking arm in arm. The poetry between them, the grace and demeanor of a loving couple from an earlier era. Her grey bun was firmly affixed to the back of her head, a single strand escaping in the breeze. In his blazer and beige khakis, he was decidedly overdressed for this crowd.

They surely weren`t from The Cat`s Table....or were they?

Michael Ondaatje`s The Cat`s Table (the least privileged place, typically farthest from the Captain`s table) sets the scene for the most enjoyable, endearing and at times enduring characters.

It speaks of secrecy and power of many kinds. In its pages, (so often not identified by page numbers, which I found mysterious in itself), I heard again and again of the affects of the unsuspected. “It would always be strangers like them, at the various Cat‘s Tables of my life, who would alter me.”

The story of a young boy and his adventurous voyage across the waters to a new life, a new self. Written with Ondaatje`s magical turns of phrase, I did not want this book to end. “They seemed an unlikely pair. Although she had a laugh that hinted it had rolled around once or twice in mud.”

His characters are delightful and surprisingly sublime. “That was a small lesson I learned on the journey. What is interesting and important happens mostly in secret, in places where there is no power.”

What woman doesn`t want at least once in her life to utter the words “I don`t think you can love me into safety” and then to walk away into the sunset?


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