I had to read this book for my English class, and I never expected to like it as much as I did. It is a slow moving book with little to no action, but it is bursting at the seams with symbolism and literary allusions. This book was very well researched before being written.
Every single character has an immense amount of depth; they have all gone through incredible hardship and are om a path to healing, each in their own way. We follow them through their addictions and distractions, and how, in the end, they help each other heal. Michael Ondaatje is a great, subtle writer. He shows and doesn't tell, and every single word has a purpose in his book; it is concise yet complete and never rushed.
Ondaatje demonstrates a mastery of time in this novel, constantly going forwards and backwards in time without warning, whilst at the same time, changing point of views.
All in all, this is an eloquently written novel, and a gem of Canadian literature.