Thursday, September 27, 2007

Michael Ondaatje/Coming through Slaughter

A look at the life of a New Orleans jazz coronet prodigy in the first decade of the 20th century. Buddy Bolden is a barber by day, a jazz player by night, and an alcoholic and a womanizer around the clock.

This book was an experiment with in style, and it was a failure for me. Ondaatje had the makings of a great plot, but he let his false-feeling "jazz" impressionism run free. The prose became difficult to follow and frustrating because it only revealed fractions of the narrative. The result: I didn't care about the characters much at all.

I'm a big fan of ANIL'S GHOST and ENGLISH PATIENT. This book was written in 1979, and (through some research into availability, reviews, etc--I couldn't even find a usable cover image to put here!) it doesn't seem like it is widely read, despite his stature. I guess even the best writers need time to hone their craft?

No comments: