Running in the Family
In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that “pendant off the ear of India, ” Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family. An inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer.
About the Author
Michael Ondaatje is the author of three previous novels, a memoir and eleven books of poetry. His novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize. Born in Sri Lanka, he moved to Canada in 1962 and now lives in Toronto.
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A family watches, horrified, as their patriarch transforms into the wise-cracking lead of an old-timey minstrel show. An art collector gleefully destroys his most valuable pieces. A young artist devotes himself to a wealthy, malicious gossip, knowing that it’s just a matter of time before she turns on him. In this new collection of short stories, Paul Theroux explores the tenuous leadership of the elite and the surprising revenge of the overlooked. He shows us humanity possessed, consumed by its own desires, always with his carefully honed eye and the subtle idiosyncrasies that bring his characters to life.
“The Story of the Stone” (c. 1760) is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The first part of the story, The Golden Days, begins the tale of Bao-yu, a gentle young boy who prefers girls to Confucian studies, and his two cousins: Bao-chai, his parents’ choice of a wife for him, and the ethereal beauty Dai-yu. Through the changing fortunes of the Jia family, this rich, magical work sets worldly events – love affairs, sibling rivalries, political intrigues, even murder – within the context of the Buddhist understanding that earthly existence is an illusion and karma determines the shape of our lives.
David Hintons compelling new translation of Chuang Tzus Inner Chapters makes these ancient texts from the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy accessible to contemporary readers. Standing alongside the Tao Te Ching as a founding text in the Taoist tradition, Chuang Tzu is highly readablewith a wild menagerie of characters and passages full of witty and engaging anecdotes. Revered for millennia in the Chinese spiritual tradition, Chuang Tzu stands alongside the Tao Te Ching as a founding classic of Taoism. The Inner Chapters is the only sustained section of this text widely believed to be the work of Chuang Tzu himself, dating to the fourth century B.C. Witty and engaging, spiced with the lyricism of poetry, Chuang Tzus Taoist insights are timely and eternal, profoundly concerned with spiritual ecology. Indeed, the Tao of Chuang Tzu was a wholesale rejection of a human-centered approach. Zen traces its sources back to these Taoist roots–roots at least as deep as those provided by Buddhism. But this is an ancient text that yields a surprisingly modern effect. In bold and startling prose, David Hintons translation captures the zany texture and philosophical abandon of the original. The Inner Chapterss fantastical passages–in which even birds and trees teach us what they know–offer up a wild menagerie of characters, freewheeling play with language, and surreal humor. And interwoven with Chuang Tzus sharp instruction on the Tao are short-short stories that are often rough and ribald, rich with satire and paradox.On their deepest level, The Inner Chapters are a meditation on the mysteries of knowledge itself. Chuang Tzus propositions, the translators introduction reminds us, seem to be in constant transformation, for he deploys words and concepts only to free us of words and concepts. Hintons vital new translation makes this ancient text from the golden age of Chinese philosophy accessible to contemporary readers.
Set on a Bengali noble’s estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconciliable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.