Like many works by Canadian author Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family is playful in its approach to genre, blending memoir with autobiography, biography, history and unmistakably fictional forms, such as myths, poems, and gossip. Its coupling of autobiographical cues and historical fact and repeated nods towards its own fictionalization and dubious ‘authenticity’ frustrate any attempt to neatly situate the book within a particular generic convention. The product of extensive research into his family’s history – some conducted in Canada, some the result of two trips to his native Ceylon after a 25-year absence – Running in the Family has been described in rather modest terms by Ondaatje at the end of the book …

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Pedri, Nancy. "Running in the Family". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 November 2010
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Postcolonial Literature - Canadian
  2. Metafictional Writing