Keep your mouth shut and let me open your mind for you' Louis William Wain was born on 5 August in Clerkenwell in London. His father was a textile trader and embroiderer; his mother was French.
There was a vast distance between steerage, where Michael berthed, and first class.
In steerage he mixed with the crew, an odd assortment of A Trip through the Liminal It's hard to imagine today but in Michael, who was eleven years old, traveled by ship from his native Sri Lanka to England with virtually no adult supervision. In steerage he mixed with the crew, an odd assortment of academics and even some criminals.
Anything could happen in these nether regions. The worst that could happen in first class was gossip over cards. The cat's table was the designation for the lowliest table set furthest away from the glitter of the captain's seating.
Michael's new friends were as unfettered as he was and they roamed the boat freely spying on their fellow passengers and watching the ever changing and amazing scenery pass by.
There was a criminal in chains on board whose guards led him out during the late evening hours.
The boys hid in lifeboats and watched as he walked in chains around the deck. They speculated what horrible crime he'd committed since no one seemed to know any facts. Michael shortly cavorted with an onboard thief who enlisted him to help steal. Emily, Michael's beautiful and wild seventeen year old and much admired cousin, puts an end to this when she realizes what he's doing.
In short the boys have the adventure of their young lives. On landing in England and reuniting with his mother, Michael quickly merges into his new life but stays in touch with Cassius.
Most of "Cat's Table" is written from the perspective of an eleven year old but there are sections written from Michael's adult self is looking back on a great adventure and reevaluating its meaning. What appeared to be truth to an eleven year old takes on different meanings through the experience of middle age.
His two friends changed the trajectory of his life. At eleven his travels seemed like just a blip but looking back what seemed minimal actually influenced large swaths of his life. Anyone whose read Ondaatje is aware how lush his language is and how profound his insights are and happily"Cat's Table" is no exception.
The two weeks of their ship journey was a suspension of life. Their lives were on hold and anything was possible. They formed associations at whim. They stayed up to all hours. They were free from constraints.
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The Cat's Table is a grinning book, winking and cheeky. This is the Ondaatje of brazen card-sharking and ticking time bombs, of glimpses of female flesh and saucy blues lyrics, not the Ondaatje of the dusty archive or haunting architectural ruin. A spellbinding story - by turns poignant and electrifying - about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage.
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Michael Ondaatje's novel, "The Cat's Table", is the coming-of-age tale of an ll year-old boy named Michael who takes a day sea journey in the s. Leaving his home on the island state of Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), just south of India, Michael boards a passenger ship called the Oronsay bound for England, where he will be reunited with .
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