Michael Ondaatje | Critical Review by Constance Merritt

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of Michael Ondaatje.
This section contains 1,174 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Constance Merritt

Critical Review by Constance Merritt

SOURCE: Merritt, Constance. Review of Handwriting: Poems, by Michael Ondaatje. Prairie Schooner 75, no. 1 (spring 2001): 182-84.

In the following review, Merritt compares the historical themes and narrative elements of Handwriting with those of Running in the Family.

As in his 1982 memoir Running in the Family, the subject and setting of Handwriting, Michael Ondaatje's latest book of poems, is Sri Lanka, the author's birthplace and childhood home; here comparisons end. Contrasts, however, abound. Whereas the memoir is a diffuse, meandering affair, cobbled out of anecdote, inference and rumor; Handwriting—spare, imagistic, lyrical—is a deep spell woven of history, imagination, and the chiaroscuro of fairy tale. While the memoir recites seemingly endless accounts of the shenanigans and social rounds of the prominent, European-influenced families of “Ceylon”—horse racing, tennis tournaments, flirtations and affairs, dress balls...

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This section contains 1,174 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Constance Merritt
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