Wine & Book Group Pick for June '06
The Wine and Book Group pick for June combines literary biography with a travel, cultural, and historic perspective. Why not let Christopher Ondaatje (yes, Michael's brother) take you to Sri Lanka where his own roots derive, to read about another relative of a famous writer, Leonard Woolf, husband of Virgina. Woolf in Ceyon (HarperCollins 2006) It is emerging that Leonard is one of the literary giants of the twentieth century.
June 03, 2006 —
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About the Book
The book covers a scant seven years of Woolf's life while he was a colonial administrator in the civil service in Ceylon, but it is loaded with details and anecdotes providing similarities between the two men's lives (author and subject).
Leonard Woolf has primarily been described as a critic and writer on politics and economics, a practical theorist, a literary editor, and an administrator in Ceylon. Readers will also recall that he started the Hogart House Press, a highly successful publishing venture.
Leonard's other book, The Village in the Jungle (Elan, April 2006) is a brilliant story based upon several different significant themes including fate, love, and tragedy.
Here are Leonard Woolf's recollections of his life with Virginia Woolf during the years when she wrote her major novels; also an account of the growth of the Hogarth Press, as well as portraits of Sigmund Freud, T.S. Eliot, and others.
However overshadowed by her immense reputation he may have been, it seems that Virginia's husband has found a champion in Ondaatje and perhaps in Nick Smith, editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society, whose comments appear on the back cover jacket. "This book is certain to give today's reader a much clearer view as to why Woolf's reputation is steadily growing, and why he is now deservedly regarded as one of the literary giants of the twentieth century."
About the Author
This is no ordinary author. Born in Ceylon and educated in Britain, Ondaatje emigrated to Canada in 1956. He built a successful career in corporate finance, established Pagurian Press in 1967 and after retirement began a new career as a writer.
Some of his books include Hemingway in Africa, The Prime Ministers of Canada and Journey to the Source of the Nile. Ondaatje is also director of the World Wildlife Fund and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, was named an Officer, Order of Canada in 1993 and in 2003 was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's honours list in England, where he now lives. Readers more familiar with Michael Ondaatje, one of Canada's most celebrated playwrights and novelists, whose works include The English Patient, will be pleased to become acquainted with his younger brother.
I like to check the CIA fact book on countries when planning to visit. Take a look at the satellite view of Sri Lanka, located off the south coast of India in Southeast Asia. Palk Strait is filled with bright sediment, while off the northeast tip of Sri Lanka, a dark stain in the waters could be a phytoplankton bloom.
Women & Wine Picks
Log on to this website and see what delicious selections they've come up with for this book. Sure to delight and educate, the experts at W&W use all female vintners, sommeliers, and food divas to match wines -- and sometimes recipes -- for the books we choose. Educate your palate as you discuss this book. Check out their new Reading Glasses Wine Club.
Previous Wine & Book Group Picks
- May Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living Australia
- April The Mermaid Chair set in South Carolina
- March Memoirs of a Geisha set in Japan
- February Get a Life set in South Africa
- January The Shadow of the Wind set in Barcelona
- December Pride and Prejudice set in England
- November Beyond Measure set in Renaissance Italy
- October Breakfast at Tiffany's set in New York