It chronicles and interprets important events in the life of William Bonney , aka Billy the Kid, and his conflict with Sheriff Pat Garrett. The book presents a series of poems not necessarily in chronological order which fictionalize and relate Bonney's more famous exploits, after the end of the Lincoln County War. The narrative includes his relationship with John and Sallie Chisum, his formation of a gang with Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre , his standoff with Garrett in Stinking Springs, his arrest and escape from Lincoln, New Mexico , his escape and the ensuing murder of James Bell and Robert Olinger , and finally his death at the hands of Garrett. The book was written by Ondaatje in the late s in Canada, after he emigrated from Ceylon to England and further relocated to Quebec in order to attend college.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. From the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient comes a visionary novel, a virtuoso synthesis of storytelling, history, and myth, about William Bonney, a. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 24, Michael rated it it was amazing. This is a portrait of Billy the Kid as reflected in a thousand pieces of a shattered mirror.
The book is composed of vignettes, poems, photos, and fragments of prose, each of which is a little stroke of brilliance and all of which together paint an incredibly rich, violent, and moving portrait of this young man and his legend. Ondaatje is quite a conjurer here. View all 10 comments. Dec 28, mark monday rated it it was amazing Shelves: unstablenarratives , alpha-team , these-fragile-lives , mind-the-gap , into-the-past.
Billy the Kid, vicious animal Pat Garrett, so sane he's insane Billy the Kid, the mythology removed and built up again the fragmented, cut-up style is ingenius. View all 14 comments. A stew of fact and fiction, a hot mess of history, a researched yet fabricated poetry book, a travelogue, a series of gray-scale images, and also text describing nonexistent images in film photography's technical jargon and I swoon , this book hits all my right notes.
If Billy the Kid had ever constructed a little girl's scrapbook journal which reflected on the huge themes of his life, but in simple language like stripping bare an entire mythology of a real human being and then drawing it in cr A stew of fact and fiction, a hot mess of history, a researched yet fabricated poetry book, a travelogue, a series of gray-scale images, and also text describing nonexistent images in film photography's technical jargon and I swoon , this book hits all my right notes.
If Billy the Kid had ever constructed a little girl's scrapbook journal which reflected on the huge themes of his life, but in simple language like stripping bare an entire mythology of a real human being and then drawing it in crayon exceptionally WELL, it would be this book.
It is little. I will not over-do it in the quote-factory I am saying that to myself times-fast in order to control myself , but for those of you who skim the quotes in reviews: read these. I cannot explain myself properly in an "encouraging you to actually read this book" sorta way though that is what I intend to do without literally showing you what you are missing.
Wait, what was the question? What a lovely depiction of the mucky wrestle that is lurve: squashing things, then staring at the blood and guts in glaring sunlight. How beautiful it is that, and but, and what have I done, and wow, and huh?
You know, that type of brain-stuff. I don't know enough about Billy the Kid to review this book. Miss Angela D has a mouth like a bee she eats and off all your honey her teeth leave a sting on your very best thing and its best when she gets the best money That's right-Pynchon-y, am I wrong? Now if you'll excuse me, I have a hot date with wikipedia.
I would rate this a 4. Bonney, or may I call you Billy B: No. I: Mr. Bonney, do you believe in God? I: Do you wonder what will happen after death now that you don't believe in God?
B: Well I try to avoid it. Though I suppose not. I guess they'll just put you in a box and you will stay there forever. I: How about you, do you think you will last in people's memories? B: I'll be with the world till she dies. Chin, chin, Mr. View all 22 comments. There's a blurb from Larry McMurtry where he admits that it "strains one's powers of descrition" which pretty much sums it up. It's raw, funny, and frightening all in one go.
Because 1 it's so interior, 2 Ondaatje excels at this sort of characterization, and 3 Billy is bat shit crazy, the exteriors are hyperbolic and grotesque. B "Get away from me yer stupid chicken. Billy might as well be on Mars the scenes are so strange and distinct. It doesn't mean anything, but then again maybe it does. There's a scene where Billy is puking during a sandstorm where the vomit is a "pack of miniature canaries" torn out of his body, buffeted by the wind, and all the while he's trying to keep the dog from going after it eating up his mess.
It's sad and brutal and hilarious all and there are many more scenes just as sharply layered and angled against expectations. So throw away all the received wisdom you may have picked up regarding BTK over the years and saddle up for a ride that's slick and weird. View all 12 comments. A little scratchy, a little 'first-take'. Go sepia. Remember the first time you heard: Billy, you're so far away from home.
Never kicked it. Then he started to write -- he had to write. He wrote a collage: of poems and poem fragments, prose, documentary testimonies. It's uneven, a broken western sky. But we're at the point where only impressionists can write Billy, who here says, Blood a necklace on me all my life. This is a book where a dying man's last words are, indelibly, get away from me yer stupid chicken.
They went to kill it, to put it out of its misery; but it jumped and fled. Ran under the house. Couldn't get it out, but imagined the pain. Billy said he'd kill him. You should read this to find out how. If you want to know. And yet, Even though dead they buried him in leg irons. It's easy to be misunderstood. View all 8 comments. Aug 01, Khashayar Mohammadi rated it really liked it Shelves: canadian , idiosyncratic , poetry.
One of the most original books of Poetry I have ever read. Ingenious, Bold and Lachrymose. May 19, April Kennedy rated it really liked it. I read this book years ago, and it is definitely one I won't forget.
I love the legend of Billy the Kid, so to see it told through prose and candor and photographs was really interesting.
A great Canadian read. In Canada. Dec 03, John rated it really liked it Recommends it for: the West. It's fragmentary, nebulous, disintegrating, nonsensical, beautiful, weird, scary, quiet, even silent.
It's got lots and lots of white space.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid