In reviewing Michael Ondaatje’s 1991 collection of poetry, The Cinnamon Peeler: Selected Poems, poet Cyril Dabydeen, referring to the “seemingly distinctive personae” that each poem in the collection seems to have, writes in World Literature Today that “Ondaatje essentially creates a mythos about himself.” This “mythos”—the creation of new identities—characterizes much of Ondaatje’s writing. His best-known example is the nameless, faceless, and nation-less burn victim in his Booker-prize winning novel The English Patient. As an immigrant to Canada...
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