2012: #13 – Anil's Ghost (Michael Ondaatje)

Title: Anil’s Ghost
Author: Michael Ondaatje
Format: Kindle
Pages: 307 (2012 total – 3,427)
Word Count: 75,321 (2012 total – 945,825)
Release Date: April 24, 2001
Publisher: Vintage
Categories: general fiction
Source: personal copy
Rating: 2 out of 5

Back of the book:

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.

My thoughts:

This was one of those books that I only pushed through because I was reading it for book club. And even then, I didn’t finish it completely, getting the gist of the end from others in the club. There was just so much of the book I didn’t care about. Some parts were interesting, but others just seemed to be there as a writing exercise.

I generally read a book like this because I want to learn more about the event in the background, in this case, the Sri Lankan civil war. But I really came out of it no more knowledgeable than I was going in, and even worse, it didn’t even ignite a desire to learn more from other sources. The war and its circumstances really get lost in all of Anil’s… stuff.

The one positive thing I can say about the book is that it really is beautifully written. I just wish those beautiful words were woven into a more cohesive and interesting story.

Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | WorldCat

Other reviews:

  • “This book was wonderful written with an intriguing story that as me wanting to hunt down more o (sic) the authors works. “Jule’s Book Reviews
  • “Anil’s Ghost is something worth sitting through. It is both exotic and familiar. “Gathering Books
  • “I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a deep, political and fictional novel, but would warn you, it is very violent and saddening in places, so don’t expect a G-rated Disney film.”Love. Literature. Life.

Past reviews:

2011: Moonlight Mile (Dennis Lehane)
2010: No One You Know (Michelle Richmond)
2009: Upbound (Peter Hassebroek)
2008: Midnight Rain (Holly Lisle)
2007: Weep Not For The Vampire (William Veselik)
2006: Bloody Bones (Laurell K. Hamilton)
2005: Mind Prey (John Sandford)

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