Monday 28 April 2008

Ondaatjes Major and Minor

Looked up Michael Ondaatje on Wikipedia - yet another example of how wrong my assumptions can be: because of his Dutch name, and his writing in English, had pigeon-holed him as a South African, - how wrong can you get? And because I did not like The English Patient (film), never read anything by him, not even the original book. Some catching up to do.

Ondaatje is Sinhalese/Canadian, with Dutch ancestry. Wealthy childhood, then father lost the family fortune. His famously rich brother started from nothing and also writes books now. Mysteriously, they both carry the name Philip - the writer is Philip Michael O., and his older brother is Philip Christopher O....One imagines a family tradition, or maybe the ego-driven father called Philip. Also much rivalry between the brothers. Makes me think of the Jones Bros here (Lloyd and Bob).

Ondaatje has written 13 books of poetry (so far). This is a start to my book review, which I need to have done by May 8th. Plenty of time, work on it bit by bit every day. Am engrossed in Bashevis Singer at the moment, shall have to finish that before I can get immersed in Ondaatje.

Some of the clouds on the horizon have disappeared. Relief.

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