Coming Through Slaughter

Coming Through Slaughter

Michael Ondaatje

Book - 1976
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Many readers still claim this haunting, atmospheric novel of Michael Ondaatje's as their first love - a novel as sensual and erotic today as ever it was. At the turn of the century, the Storyville district of New Orleans had some 2000 prostitutes, 70 professional gamblers, and 30 piano players. But it had only one man who played the cornet like Buddy Bolden - he who cut hair by day at N. Joseph's Shaving Parlor, and at night played jazz, unleashing an unforgettable wildness and passion in crowded rooms. Self-destructively in love with two women, he embodied all the dire claims that music places on its acolytes. At the age of 31, Buddy Bolden went mad. From these sparse facts, Michael Ondaatje has created a story as beautiful and chilling as a New Orleans funeral procession, where even the mourners dance.
Publisher: Toronto : Anansi, 1976.
ISBN: 9780676971767
Characteristics: 156 p. ;,23 cm.


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Jan 27, 2020

A rather unusually organized novel, whose theme is as unclear as the narrative. On the plus side, there are many good paragraphs (eg., on p. 8 beginning "He was the best...") that start simply enough but build and develop as they progress. He used deftly and selectively a technique that mimics echolalia, repeating most of the preceding sentence that gives a bit of a jolt and a lingering of ones attention, as well as slowing down one's pace of reading.

EW Feb 27, 2014

A great read.

Oct 25, 2011

I just re-read this early novel from Ondaatje, and was reminded how well written and compelling it is -- his poet's sensibility, especially the use of image, is in full display here. But it's also a great story.

Sep 09, 2009

Buddy Bolden was a jazz cornettist before Louis Armstrong. He never recorded.

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