With his first novel since the internationally acclaimed The English Patient, Booker Prize-winning author 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.
Anil’s Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war. Into this maelstrom steps Anil Tissera, a young woman born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, who returns to her homeland as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island. What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past–a story 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–Michael Ondaatje’s most powerful novel yet.
It started out as a complicated and fragmented plot structure. For the first hundred pages or so, it kept switching between past and present, conversations and memories, all within the same chapter. It was hard to keep up.
It gets better, post 150 pages. It picks up pace, however there are very few civil war, LTTE- Sinhalese references. The evidence is there, stories about the popular politicians are very easily identified as well, but Gamini is the only one through whom you get an insight into the turbulence in Sri Lanka.
But, this book really hit its mark in the end. You aren’t left confused, or clueless. The plot comes a full circle.
I have mixed feelings about this book though, but because I really admired the smooth writing style, and easy way of explaining, I liked it. It’s worth a shot.