I haven't read a lot of Ondaatje, but I truly loved Divisadero. And, of course, I'm the biggest fan of The Brick, the literary journal Ondaatje edits. So, I had great hopes for The Cat's Table. I loved the premise, the idea of a shared event that alters everybody involved (McEwan's Enduring Love had a similar, though more dramatic, hook at the start).
But I feel like Ondaatje told us a lot without giving the kind of access to the characters I would have liked. There was something aloof in the telling of this tale. And, as such, I wasn't hooked. Ondaatje writes some beautiful, understated lines. There are passages that were truly luminous. But I needed more than that.
Instead, I coolly followed what had happened to the characters and how their journey changed them, calcified their futures, and yet I didn't really care. At every turn, I was waiting to care, expecting it to creep up on me as it sometimes does. But it never emerged and I finished without feeling impacted.