They are considerable. The storyline, intricate, unfolding in bits and pieces, additions and subtractions. A line here, a vignette there. Multi-dimensional characters developed like a drawing, rather than a photograph, layer upon layer, bouncing back and forth in time. Mesmerizing descriptive passages, to be savored, read and reread. And insights into the human condition that only a gifted writer like Ondaatje can illuminate, insights that both resonated and stunned me with their clarity.
This is not meant to be a review (for an excellent review, read Liesl Schillinger's review in the New York Times, Oct. 14, 2011 edition). Rather, it is an endorsement. The strongest I give any book. I know such a book when I can hear myself as I read it...who is this person who writes, and thinks, this way?! I have to read his/her other books!
I urge you to read The Cat's Table.