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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2001
This is wonderful to read. Ondaatje manages to recreate Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in a wonderfully absorbing, highly readable style. The characters (his family!) are extremely eccentric and entertaining, though there is sadness as well as humour. He is a top-notch story teller and this kind of travelogue/biography is a joy to read.
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on 30 January 1999
Ondaatje's prose is luminous and his poetry makes Sri Lanka a tangible presence. This is a family history of sorts with a fluctuating narrative standpoint - at times autobiographical, at times a vivid recreation of his parents' experiences and those of other family members. The story of his improbably named grandmother and the groper on the bus had me laughing out loud. This is a fascinating jewel of a book which reads like fiction - not the sort of fiction you buy in an airport book shop, though; rather the sort of fiction likely to be praised on late night book reviews. It is a delight.
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on 27 July 1999
A fascinating insight into a time and place I knew nothing about. Ondaatje writes like a dream; not only is his style luminous and sensual but the stories themselves are a sheer delight. Like my fellow Londoner, I loved the story of Lala on the bus - but even more I loved the photograph of the author's parents. Certainly one of my favourite books. Highly recommended (although admittedly not to everyone's taste - if you prefer Jeffrey Archer to Jane Austen you may be disappointed).
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on 14 June 2012
This is a great book. It is quite poetic and vibrant. Being partly factual based it suddenly veers into the realms of fantasy to inject everything with a larger than life imagery of an eccentric family in Sri Lanka. If you like Gabriel Garcia Marquez books you will like this. It is one of my favourites
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on 9 October 2011
I got this before going to Sri Lanka. A good reccomendation to add another dimension to the trip especially as I visited places in the book.
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on 8 May 2013
Worth reading before going to Sri Lanka to get an idea of the type of people that were there but didn't feel much empathy for them.
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on 7 June 2000
I'm afraid I found this book rambling, boring and thoroughly self-indulgent. An avid reader, this is the only book I have ever read that I actually wanted to throw away without finishing, an act which I have never before contemplated.I think that says it all?
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