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The Cat's Table-logo

The Cat's Table

Michael Ondaatje

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the "cat's table"-as far from the Captain's Table as can be-with a ragtag group of "insignificant" adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: one man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator's elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself "with a distant eye" for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another Cat's Table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy's adult years, it tells a spellbinding story-by turns poignant and electrifying-about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage. From the Hardcover edition.

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the "cat's table"-as far from the Captain's Table as can be-with a ragtag group of "insignificant" adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: one man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator's elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself "with a distant eye" for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another Cat's Table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy's adult years, it tells a spellbinding story-by turns poignant and electrifying-about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage. From the Hardcover edition.
More Information

Genres:

Fiction

Description:

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the "cat's table"-as far from the Captain's Table as can be-with a ragtag group of "insignificant" adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: one man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator's elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself "with a distant eye" for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another Cat's Table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy's adult years, it tells a spellbinding story-by turns poignant and electrifying-about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage. From the Hardcover edition.

Language:

English

Length:

7h 1m


Chapters

Introduction
Introduction

06:37


Chapter 1
Chapter 1

33:57


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

09:26


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

04:19


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

01:55


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

06:52


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

14:08


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

19:16


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

11:21


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

05:02


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

04:34


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

07:05


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

34:33


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

25:11


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

21:37


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

39:07


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

02:58


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

02:49


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

26:52


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

16:53


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

02:55


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

04:24


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

03:04


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

02:39


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

14:00


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

44:30


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

19:17


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

20:08


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

06:41


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

02:37


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

05:33


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

01:05