The Cat's Table
|The Cat's Table|
McClelland & Stewart
|25 August 2011 (UK)
30 August 2011 (Canada)
4 October 2011 (USA)
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback), ebook, audiobook|
|LC Class||PR9199.3.O5 C38 2011|
The central character and narrator named Michael, an unaccompanied 11 year old boy, boards an ocean liner, the Oronsay, in Colombo en route to England via the Suez canal and the Mediterranean. For meals on board Michael is sat at the "cat's table" (the one furthest from the Captain's table) with other boys Ramadhin and Cassius and other misfit characters. The book follows the adventures of Michael and these boys while they are aboard the Oronsay, and Michael's later perspective as an older man looking back on this boyhood voyage.
Liesl Schillinger for The New York Times, while noting Ondaatje's appended disclaimer that The Cat's Table is a work of fiction, states, "So convincing is Ondaatje’s evocation of his narrator’s experience that the reader could easily mistake it for the author’s own". Philip Hensher for The Telegraph is largely positive, writing, "Michael Ondaatje’s impressive new novel, containing dreams and fantasy between a ship’s flanks. It is, in the most etymological way, a wonderful novel: one full of wonders." Adam Mars-Jones in his review in the The Observer is less impressed, writing, "Perhaps The Cat's Table aspires to a … doubleness of texture and meaning, the yarn of adventure story backed with the deeper colours of adult experience, but on the level of craftsmanship it doesn't measure up."
- Schillinger, Liesl (14 October 2011). "Michael Ondaatje’s Passage From Ceylon". The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Hensher, Phillip (5 September 2011). "The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje: review. Philip Hensher admires The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, a visionary retelling of an ocean voyage.". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Mars-Jones, Adam (25 September 2011). "The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje – review". The Observer. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
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