Reading is often like climbing onto a ship and sailing softly away into another world, every time you open a book. Or at least that is true of The Cat’s Table. This charming story, by the author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatjie, tracks the on-board adventures of three mischievous bosom-buddy boys on board the Oronosay, sailing in 1954 from Colombo (Sri Lanka) to a new life in England.
It is written like a biography, and although the disclaimer at the back of the book insists that the characters of The Cats Table are fictional, I can’t help but suspect that Ondaatjie based the story on his own experience of immigrating in 1954.
I am deeply in love with and inspired by the way that Ondaatjie puts words together. I first fell in love with him as a wordsmith when I read Anils Ghost (about the Sri Lankan civil war) in 2009. Like well combined flavours, he just knows which words to put together to paint the perfect picture in the readers mind.
This book was an easy read. I paired it with the Swartland wine-of-origin Spice Route Savignon Blanc. It’s spicy aroma and strong flavour of green pepper are perfect for this moving and haunting story.