cover image The Cat’s Table

The Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje, read by the author. Random House Audio, unabridged, six CDs, 7 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-307-94371-2

It only adds to the autobiographical nature of Ondaatje’s novel—concerning a young boy who journeys by ship from Sri Lanka to England in the 1950s—that the author narrates this audio edition of his latest work. The mellifluous tones of Ondaatje’s accent (part British and part subcontinental) are themselves testament to the memoiristic underpinnings of his novel. He reads without a professional’s preciseness, and yet, knowing his work as well as he does, captures the subtle music of its understated prose. Listeners will relish Ondaatje’s occasional variations from traditional British pronunciation, each one serving as a symbol of the book itself, which spans two continents and two eras. Listening to Ondaatje read becomes a pleasure in its own right; being neither here nor there, the author is himself much like the tale he tells, and the boy at its heart. A Knopf hardcover. (Oct.)