I’m 60 years-old. I’m retired and living in Sri Lanka on a tea farm I purchased for my long-lost love with whom I recently reunited. Don’t ask…just go with this fantasy, okay? She’s lying in bed next to me with her back against mine. A balmy midnight breeze blows in through the window and the white curtains scale up the walls and then billow down. My mind is similarly rising and falling in humidified thought. I can’t sleep. I saw something today that reminded me of a film I once saw a long time ago but I can’t quite place the moment or the film. She’s half-awake, too. She turns over to face me and runs her hand through my hair. I whisper to her, “Were you there with me? Do you remember that movie? It was soooo good. You know, the one about time travel where the guy was on the run from his future self and he hid out on that farm in Kansas with that beautiful woman and her little kid who could…”
…well, I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Behold the litany of reasons Rian Johnson’s Looper is an instant genre classic I will fondly recall when I’m 60 years-old: Continue reading →
My favorite piece of short fiction to appear in The New Yorker last year was hands-down Michael Ondaatje’s The Cat’s Table – a poignant and evocative piece about an eleven year-old Sri Lankan boy’s coming of age on the high seas while sailing on a rowdy cruise ship (The Oronsay) to boarding school in England.
I was overjoyed to discover it was part of a larger novel released in October of last year. I was puzzled to find the story that appeared in The New Yorker was not a straight excerpt and had instead been parsed and elaborated on in long form during the first half of the novel of the same name. In this extended tale, the full twenty-one days of the early 1950’s voyage are realized and a parade of new characters traverses the decks.
The Cat’s Table refers to the not-so-enviable table in the back of the dining room where the young boy (Michael) sat along with two other boys (the wild Cassius and the sickly Ramadhin) and a rag-tag team of adults including a jazzy wisdom-spewing washed-up musician (Mr. Mazappa) and a mysteriously quiet English bird-lady (Miss Lasqueti). The unsupervised trio of rascals have the run of the ship, exploring every nook and cranny and soaking up every story and incident from the revolving door of worldly adults in the their midst. Mystery and adventure, but also misfortune and melancholy soak the ship as it heads half-way across the globe touching on Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Continue reading →