With his first novel since the internationally acclaimed The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje gives us a work displaying all the richness of imagery and language and the piercing emotional truth that we have come to know as the hallmarks of his writing.
The time is our own time. The place is Sri Lanka, the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, off the southern tip of India, a country steeped in centuries of cultural achievement and tradition - and forced into the late 20th century by the ravages of civil war and the consequences of a country divided against itself.
Into this maelstrom steps a young woman, Anil Tissera, born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to work with local officials to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island.
Bodies are discovered. Skeletons. And particularly one, nicknamed "Sailor". What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past - all propelled by a riveting mystery.
Unfolding against the deeply evocative background of Sri Lanka's landscape and ancient civilization, Anil's Ghost is a literary spellbinder - the most powerful novel we have yet had from Michael Ondaatje.
©2001 Michael Ondaatje (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Gorgeously exotic.... As he did in The English Patient, Mr. Ondaatje is able to commingle anguish and seductiveness in fierce, unexpected ways. (The New York Times)
Not only because I love Michael Ondaatje, but loved the narrator as well, Alan Cumming. I listened to the book over my 2 week christmas break and could not wait to settle in with it every evening. The story was engrossing and the descriptions of Sri Lanka so vivid I could picture myself there. I would often fall asleep listening and then replay what I missed. Now that I have finished, I want to hear it all over again for details I may not have grasped the first time. Highly recommended.
What to say? I am thinking. I know I really liked it by the end.....not in the beginning. In the beginning and even in the middle I was often confused. In the beginning all that lured me was learning about the horrors of the civil war raging in Sri Lanka at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s and facts about the country - physical and cultural. By the end I knew who was who. People are not simple, and this writer does not make it easy for you. You jump all over the place, from one place, time and person to another. By the end I was enchanted by the lines. By the end I cared for several of the characters. By the end I understood the message and agreed. Is it best to drive for truth and clarity, if this will just bring more suffering? And yet some people are who they are and have to behave as they do.
The narration by Alan Cumming also annoyed me in the beginning, but by the end it was just fine. In the beginning there was questioning tone, a tempo, an inflection that bugged me, but that just disappeared by the end!
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