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» » Coming Through Slaughter
Coming Through Slaughter


Michael Ondaatje


Coming Through Slaughter


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PDF ebook size:

1637 kb

ePub ebook size:

1710 kb

Fb2 ebook size:

1882 kb

Other book formats:

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General Publishing (1985)

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Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje

This is a powerful book telling the story of Buddy Bolton who played coronet during the Storyville era of New Orleans at the turn of the century. Only this skillful poet/author could capture the turmoil, violence, beauty, rhythms, obsessions and self-destruction that permeated this place and time. Bolton was not only a jazz coronet player but also a barber who knew and passed on all the local gossip. He was an alcoholic addicted to whiskey and in love with two women. The reader watches him as he sinks into more and more depression and manic behavior; his music more wild and frenzied, unique and exciting.
Throughout the story the writer brings the reader into Bolton’s music. He breaks up voice and tone in scenarios with stunning paragraphs and narratives. It gives the book a haunting, frightening quality as Bolton slowly goes insane. This book is unique and brilliant—extremely moving.
With muscular writing, tight phrasing, and an eye for detail, Coming Through Slaughter runs down the riffs like a house on fire. While Buddy Bolden's life unravels in real time, he helps create America's original music: jazz; burning himself out in the process. Set in New Orleans, Ondaatje pulls out all the stops to make this fictional account of Bolden's erratic and flamboyant life sizzle with a jazz structure in its own right. Not a structure suitable to some, but strong writing until the end. Good stuff.
This is one of the most haunting and artistic novels ever set in New Orleans. It doesn't need ghosts or vampires to draw readers into the past, but rather the tiny fragments of a real life lost legend of Jazz. One of his best books.
I love Michael Ondaatje's style, but not in this one. I presented a paper on this book. I totally understand that there is a purpose in writing his book in this way, as he wants to liken his writing with the improvisation of Bolden's life and music.
Michael Ondaatje wrote this semi-biographical story of legendary jazz musician Buddy Bolden long before writing "The English Patient" and "Anil's Ghost". Ondaatje only writes two novels per decade, so it is both interesting and relatively easy to track his progress as an author. "Coming Through Slaughter" draws heavily on Ondaatje's poetic roots, as rhythmic sections of smooth unself-conscious dialogue alternate with straight narrative and passages of syncopated poetry. It is far shorter and contains more poetry than his later works -and this works well in a book about jazz. In this, it is less mature than "The English Patient", more rooted in a young man's poetic freeform and less in the disciplined construction of a novel. Perspectives shift from Bolden to his New Orleans friends, prostitutes, and the musicians around him who literally created jazz. Ondaatje has a unique style of piecing a novel together from disparate pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces that don't always meet at the edges -at least until the whole is complete and the details slowly merge into a profound and intricate mosaic. This style, in its early stages, is on display here. Characters and themes emerge slowly. Ondaatje is a challenging author. You may be two pages into a scene and still not know quite who is talking, or about what, or when. But finally the rush of understanding as the scene fits logically into another that comes pages later.
Buddy Bolden, New Orleans cornet player, early jazz genius who dropped out of sight for two years and then made a triumphant if short-lived return, before dying in an asylum. This is the source. The facts about Bolden remain murky, and Ondaatje has created a life around him. It is a story as much about jazz, New Orleans, and decay as it is about the sad life of a single horn player.
A little odd and disjointed. Can see the developement into a better author.
Truly incredible book.
A must read for aspirin artists, musicians, and writers.

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