Book Discussion Group: "The Cat's Table"
Type of Event:
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje "In The Cat's Table, Ondaatje seems to lead the reader on a journey through three deeply submerged weeks in his own memory from the year 1954, when, at age 11, he traveled on the ocean liner Oronsay from Colombo, in what was then Ceylon, to England, a passage that would lead him from his past to his future self. As the novel opens, prominent passengers are granted seats at the captains table, but young Michael (nicknamed Mynah) and the two boys he befriends, Cassius (a troublemaker) and Ramadhin (a contemplative asthmatic), are relegated to a table of dubious characters: a mute tailor, a retired ship dismantler, a pianist who has 'hit the skids,' a botanist and a lady who hides pigeons in the pockets of her jacket, and reads thrillers in her deck chair, flinging them overboard when they bore her. Its the pigeon lady who remarks that theirs is 'the cat's table' since 'we're in the least privileged place.' This turns out to be a matter of perspective...." -- Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Sunday Book Review