Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

Anil's Ghost
Michael Ondaatje
(McClelland & Stewart, Toronto: 2000)

READ: June 2007

As always, I love Michael Ondaatje. I would leave everyone and everything in the material world behind, if only I could spend more time immersed in Ondaatje novels. Seriously.

I've read this one 2 or 3 times now (I've read all his books before, except the new one, Divisadero, for which I am anxiously awaiting the paperback release), and it is coming dangerously close to supplanting "The English Patient" as the most beautifully-written book ever. I love losing myself in his words. This book just gets more delicious each time. Anil is a forensics specialist who returns to her native Sri Lanka after almost two decades abroad as part of a human rights organization investigating some crimes committed during the ongoing civil unrest. It is a beautiful, moving story. Ondaatje was originally a poet, and that influence shows time and time again in his novels. His words are fluid, and trigger vivid images of what he is describing.

To prove I'm not entirely biased, while it is an excellent book, I must admit it is not perfect. The ending left me slightly unsatisfied. It ends quickly, on a sour note (for both the characters and the readers), and feels somewhat unresolved. Perhaps, however, that is a good parallel to the book's tale itself, of war and uncertainty and strife.

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