The Last Colonial: Curious Adventures & Stories from a Vanishing World
Christopher Ondaatje and Ana Maria Pacheco
An autobiography in essays that conjures up a truly unique portrait of a world that is fast disappearing. Christopher Ondaatje is a true child of the British Empire. Born in Ceylon in 1933 and brought up on a tea plantation, he was sent as a teenager to boarding school in England. But soon after Ceylon was granted its independence in 1948, his family found themselves destitute, and the young Ondaatje left school and got a job. From these beginnings there forllowed a series of commercial triumphs until 1988 when he abruptly abandoned high finance at the peak of his career and reinvented himself as an explorer and an author, focusing mainly on the colonial period. It is the curious encounters behind these often precarious adventures that make up this book. The stories tell of Ondaatje's childhood days, his early life in Canada, his fascination with inexplicable events and local superstitions, and sometimes perilous travels researching his acclaimed biographies. Illustrated throughout with original images by Ana Maria Pacheco, The Last Colonial lives up to the romance of its tantalizing title.