'What had there been before such a ship in my life? A dugout canoe on a
river journey? A launch in Trincomalee harbour? There were always fishing
boats on our horizon. But I could never imagine the grandeur of this castle
that was to cross the sea'. In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy
boards a huge liner in Colombo bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated
at the lowly 'cat's table' - as far from the Captain's table as can be -
with a ragtag group of adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As
the ship crosses the Indian Ocean the boys tumble from one adventure to
another,and at night they spy on a shackled prisoner - his crime and fate a
mystery that will haunt them forever...

Michael Ondaatje—The Cat's Table

  • 9780099554424