Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Canuck Book 12 - Divisadero

I finally finished Divisadero. 12 books down and 1, count it, 1 more book to read in the Canadian Book challenge.

I really don't know what to say about Divisadero. It's a beautiful book, for sure. It's a really beautiful book. It's also a supremely enigmatic book. I read the last page at about 2 in the morning and I still don't know what to say about it, other than I liked it. Not the most eloquent response, I'll admit, but I can accept that.

Ultimately, Divisadero is a novel that asks more questions than it answers. Tangents start and end, characters and narratives dance and weave, and nothing gets tied up the way you would normally want it. In a lesser writer, this would be a recipe for disaster. Here, it works and it works extremely well. True, I have a hard time ending a book without knowing everything, but that's just me.

Ultimately, I did not feel cheated by the book because it was so well crafted. Instead, I began to appreciate what the character Lucien Segura said about knowing the story - "Not knowing something essential makes you more involved."

If I was to recommend one book I've read for the challenge that everyone should read, this would be it.

Years ago, I tried to read The English Patient and soon lost interest. It just didn't grab me. Reading Divisadero has me wanting to go back and try The English Patient again, if only to tide me over until his next novel is done.


John Mutford said...

I've sworn off Ondaatje and Munro despite everyone's praise. Of the books I've read by both I find they hide behind ambiguity. Once and a while I'm okay with that, but I've started to suspect there is emptiness behind their questions. Based on your description of this one, it looks like it's no different. I'm glad you enjoyed it, but I'll pass.

Teddy Rose said...

Thanks for the review. This one is on my TBR and I intended to read it for the Canadian book challenge, but I don't think I'll get to it this time around. I think I'll try it for round 2.