The novelist Margaret Atwood once remarked that the work of the Canadian writer and poet Michael Ondaatje is "brightly coloured, sweet and painful, bloody-minded and otherworldly." Since 1992, Ondaatje has contributed four pieces to The New Yorker. He has also published twenty-one books, including "Anil's Ghost" and "The English Patient," which won the Man Booker Prize in 1992 and was later adapted into an Oscar-winning film by Anthony Minghella. In 2011, The New Yorker published "The Cat's Table," an excerpt from Ondaatje's novel of the same name. Ondaatje weaves an absorbing tale about an eleven-year-old boy's voyage from Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to England on a large passenger ship known as the Oronsay. Once he comes aboard, the protagonist befriends two other boys; for the trio, the vessel represents a new world full of intriguing, unexpected encounters and fresh secrets to unravel. "The Oronsay was a chance for us to escape all order. And I reinvented myself in this seemingly imaginary world, with its adult passengers, who, during the evening celebrations, staggered around in giant animal heads, dancing with women whose skirts were barely there," he writes. As children, the protagonist and his friends remain largely insulated from the self-absorbed preoccupations of the adult passengers. At one point, the protagonist observes the regimen of a theatre-troupe actor as he applies his stage makeup. By remaining hidden, Ondaatje notes, the young boy discovers what lies beyond the delicate curtain of art. Ondaatje writes persuasively about the nature of adolescent revelation. As the novelist's tale progresses, we realize that his protagonists are able to detect some of the more intimate truths we often keep buried under the surface—to discover, as Ondaatje calls it, the "skeleton within."