Michael Ondaatje takes a child’s eye view in his new book The Cat’s Table, already on the long list for the Giller Prize.

It’s the story of 11-year-old Michael as he explores the ship on which he is travelling – from the luxurious upper decks to the heat of the steam room.

Seen from the perspective of a child, this ship is a seductive slice of the adult world.

Ondaatje is the internationally celebrated Canadian author of numerous works of fiction including Booker Prize-winner The English Patient. Although he himself made a sea voyage to the U.K. in 1950, he insists the book is fictional.

In an interview with Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s Q cultural affairs show, Ondaatje explains how he got into the head of an 11-year-old boy – and why the less-fashionable "cat’s table" is the best place to gather stories.