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El Fantasma De Anil
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El Fantasma De Anil

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,021 Ratings  ·  898 Reviews
En 1992. Anil, tras quince años de ausencia, regresa a Sri Lanka. La ONU le ha encargado, dada su especialidad como antropóloga forense, que lleve a cabo una investigación. El país vive entre convulsiones sangrientas, con tres fuerzas en conflicto: los Tigres Tamiles, el Ejército Popular de Liberación y los grupos paramilitares. El gobierno asigna a Anil un colaborador, el ...more
Paperback, 295 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Destino (first published 2000)
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I read some people in Goodreads saying that this book is composed of fragments. I would rather say it is composed of silences between them. So many things are untold in “Anil’s Ghost”, but can be perceived and felt so clearly. To me this eloquent mosaic of silences was as important, as beautiful and poetic as Ondaatje’s words in this fragmented story. And what can better transmit the fear of the people caught amidst the Sri Lanka civil war than silence?

Ondaatje loosely tells us about the situati
Apr 12, 2012 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, mttbr-2012
Against the obscenity of large numbers

When a writer, dauntless and unflinching, turns his piercing gaze on mass murder, how does he drag it back into the realm of the human? In 2666 Bolano gave to each and every one of the women murdered in Santa Teresa (Ciudad Juarez), a name, or the clothes they were wearing, or where they were murdered, or, at the very least, how they were found and what happened to the corpse afterwards. He turns each one into an individual, even in the relentless catalogu
Jul 01, 2008 Marguerite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Expats, lovers, crusaders
I tried to read this once before, but I couldn't get much past page 80. This time, I couldn't put it down, which just reinforces my belief that there's a right time and a wrong time to read each book. This time, I'd been prepared by The Ministry of Special Cases and "The Caretaker," a story in Anthony Doerr's The Shell Collector. I wonder, now, about my recent attraction to refugee fiction or desaparecido fiction. What, exactly, am I looking for? What have I lost, or left behind?

Ondaatje's chara
Sep 05, 2013 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ETA: Warning - you learn very few specifics about the civil war. I was up last night thinking about this and considering if I should remove a star. No, I am not removing one. Ondaatje has a special way of writing, and I like it very much. In the beginning of the book there is a statement that says the war continues but in another way! So I think, what way? Tell me! (He never does.) That irritated me then, just as so much else did in the beginning. I didn't get what I expected but what I got was ...more
Sharon Dodge
Anil's Ghost, the story of a forensic anthropologist investigating the bones of a war victim in Sri Lanka, is a painful, beautiful book. It is also very honest: the science does not magically resolve itself, but must be worked at; the war is hideous; the cultural knowledge is first-hand; and the heroics are small, if they exist at all, and usually brutally punished.

It is as frequently frustrating, unfortunately, as it is beautiful. Maybe it's just my simple, Hemingway-esque soul, but at times I
Jul 22, 2008 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Sri Lanka's dark underbelly
Meh. Listened to this on tape. This contributed to the fragmented feeling of the book, but only a little. I didn't know why certain characters were being fleshed out when they were, or how they were related to the story at all sometimes. Maybe if I'd known more about Sri Lankan politics it would have been more clear. There was some suspense, but it never climaxed. Some of the writing was beautiful and vivid, but not enough to keep my attention if I'd been reading this myself.

Read The English Pat
Oct 29, 2008 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anil Tessira, a 33-year-old native Sri Lankan who left her country 15 years before, is a forensic pathologist sent by the U.N. human rights commission to investigate reports of mass murders on the island. Atrocities are being committed by three groups: the government, anti-government insurgents, and separatist guerrillas. Working secretly, these warring forces are decimating a population paralyzed by pervasive fear. Taciturn archeologist Sarath Diyasena is assigned by the government to be Anil's ...more
May 09, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, sri-lankan
There are pietas of every kind.

And there are many bodies to be held in this Sri Lankan tone poem. The holders, to say the least, are complicated. As are the geopolitics. No happy endings. And no answers.

I sat in a parking spot in Clarion, PA, on a warming May day, and read the last 100 pages in lieu of lunch. This was moving, and incomplete, and poetic, and while I knew this was more a prose poem than a novel, I loved the voice that could say,

There are pietas of every kind.

Hold me.

Postlude: I l
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Also reviewed on my Youtube channel.

This is a...complex book. It's the story of Anil, a forensic anthropologist who works with the UN and returns to Sri Lanka for the first time in fifteen years on an investigation. But while it's about Anil and the skeleton of a civil war victim that she unearths, it's more about Sri Lanka itself. It's not just Anil's story, but the story of those who help her - an archaeologist, Sarath; his doctor brother, Gamini; the statue carver, Ananda. It's the story of
May 17, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
When I look at Michael Ondaatje's author picture I think, well, this is going to be a surly read. How wrong could I get?

Anil's Ghost is a beautifully rendered, elegantly written story of love, loss, conscience, and discovery. It takes place in Sri Lanka in the later years of the horrible, and extended civil war, and focuses on the lives and work of the title character, a forensic anthropologist, and Sarath, her government connected archeologist partner. Many other characters come into focus, and
Nov 16, 2009 Bryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first encountered Michael Ondaatje's writing through the English patient (via the film) and was so taken by his style that I sought out other books.

What captivates me is the incredibly pared down, minimal writing that manages to communicate so much. I find it breathtaking to read.

This is a brutal novel. I gather Shri Lanka is Ondaatje's country of origin, so it's hard not to see this book as having a eprsonal element. Anil is an expert at determining what people did in life by examnining their
This was my first experience reading Michael Ondaatje and I have to say that I was impressed. His prose has an almost poetic quality that made me want to keep reading, and kept me enjoying the novel even when the subject matter was extremely disturbing.

Anil's Ghost is the story of a native Sri Lankan woman who has spent the past 15 years in America. Now she goes back to Sri Lanka as a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group. She struggles with making her two worlds co
May 10, 2014 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There are so many bodies in the ground now, that's what you said...murdered, anonymous. I mean, people don't even know if they are two hundred years old or two weeks old, they've all been through fire. Some people let their ghosts die, some don't. Sarath, we can do something..."

Anil Tissera was born in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, to a prosperous family, where she achieved a small degree of fame by winning a notable swimming race as a school girl. She left at 18 to attend medical school i
Sorayya Khan
Sep 27, 2012 Sorayya Khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ondaatje transports us to Sri Lanka in a time during the 1980's and 1990's when the government was embroiled in a civil war that produced a reign of terror and plenty of dead and disappeared people. Anil returns to her homeland as a forensic expert and representative of an international human rights organization. In a plot that is a bit mystery but so much more, we come to know Anil and Sarath (an archeologist), along with secondary characters like Ananda (artist extraordinaire) and Gamini (Sara ...more
Jun 01, 2012 Gea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 2012-read, war
Michael Ondaatje, best known for The English Patient, is one of my favorite writers. He writes like a dream. In Anil’s Ghost he captures the spirituality and beauty of life amidst the unfathomable ugliness of war. Anil’s Ghost is a beautiful elegiac story about human beings trying to survive during a war as it erodes their very spirit. This entire novel reads like a poem to be read slowly and savored.

Anil is a forensic anthropologist who reconstructs the history of the dead in an attempt to brin
Oct 20, 2011 Vicki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I really wanted to like this book. At dinner parties I always try to blend with the wallpaper when somebody starts raving about how the English Patient was the greatest film of all time. I always cringe when I have to admit I thought it was complete rubbish. I'm obviously a uncultured philistine.

This book was going to be my redemption, my step up into the intellectual elite. I wanted to be able to tell all my ever-so-clever friends that while The English Patient didn't rock my world, Anil's Ghos
(6/10) I just have this thing with Michael Ondaatje. He's one of those authors that seems like they should be write up my alley -- great prose, vaguely postmodern trappings, interesting things to say about how history is written, and Candain on top of all that. But I just find myself not able to engage with his novels, despite being able to recognize their quality. For all the beauty in the passages of this book, I found my attention wandering. Such is life.

Which isn't to say that this book is f
Nov 20, 2010 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the author did a wonderful job in creating the world of Sri Lanka and the tropical forests there. I liked the idea of an archaeologist teaming up with a doctor, and their meeting up with a Buddha face painter who became blind and his eyes were his relative. This book had some horrific scenes of war, and the casualties of war, and people fighting and being shot incongruously. Anil is an archaelogist who finds a human skull and they try to recreate the face of the person. This person was ...more
Mar 04, 2014 notgettingenough rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit

Not for the first time, one observes how much more meaningful is description of horror in the hands of the fiction writer than in those of the statistician. From this point of view, the novel has won. I feel impelled to read about the history of Sri Lanka, about which I am completely ignorant.


Dec 17, 2007 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Sri Lankan expatriate / western-trained forensic anthropologist returns to her native country to uncover the truth of the horrors of local guerrilla warfare and government-sanctioned slaughtering.

Purely beautiful writing; brings to light the harsh realities of violent warfare in Sri Lanka while simultaneously highlighting the strength & warmth of the human spirit amidst chaos.

"They had brought him nine-month-old twins, each shot in the palms and one bullet each in their right legs -- so
Jul 07, 2015 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not an easy read, but, after holidaying in Sri Lanka and identifying with the names of places we had visited it became a more powerful read.
Oct 07, 2015 Georgina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She arrived in early March, the plane landing at Katunayake airport before the dawn. They had raced it ever since coming over the west coast of India, so that now passengers stepped onto the tarmac in the dark.
She arrived in early March, the plane landing at Katunayake airport before the dawn. They had raced it ever since coming over the west coast of India, so that now passengers stepped onto the tarmac in the dark.
By the time she was out of the terminal the sun had risen. In the West she'd rea
Apr 19, 2013 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it came out several years ago. I love all his books, and found this one to be in my opinion, one of his very best, if not the best one.
It is stunning! A real window into the vicarious evil society in his country. It stays with you always, the fear and the cruelty, and the impossibility of the two sides living together in peace. That was proved out by the civil war there several years ago. It is a chilling story of death, superstition and hauntingly told. I loved it!
I've always been interested in Sri Lanka and troubled by the unrest there. It is only in recent years that I've realized that the government was guilty of its own abuses. So I enjoyed this book to learn more about the issue. But--and this may be a function of having listened to the book on tape instead of reading it--it seemed too disjointed and the ending far too open. Only the dead characters achieved resolution.
Mar 04, 2015 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, audiobook, 2015
I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear.

The Sri Lankan Civil War lasted for over 25 years -- resulting in the deaths of 80 000 - 100 000 people -- and while it was still raging, Sri Lankan-Canadian author Michael Ondaatje set his fictional characters the task of uncovering the truth of the conflict; discovering to what degree the Sri Lankan government was murdering its own citizens. In Anil's Ghost, the main character Anil is an ex-pat Sri Lankan -- a forensic pathologist
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This review may be as disjointed and rambling as is the book. Ondaatje can put words together to form beautiful thoughts. Most of the time, but not always, these words are gathered into complete sentences. In a couple of instances these words were chosen to convey emotion and that was well done. In fact, the first two pages were such emotional gatherings of words that I expected to love the book.

The book doesn't flow. I don't mind a story that is not linear, that reaches into the past or looks t
Aug 21, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to read this book. I started out with a recorded version but keep getting lost in the text. There were switches in time that didn’t make sense. I couldn’t remember character and place names or sort out a time line to say nothing of a plot. So I went to the used book store and got the book. Then I could see the problem. The book has no chapters per se. There are named sections, but within that frame the text comes in bursts of 2 to 6 or 7 pages focusing on one episode. The ...more
Mar 01, 2011 Chip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished Anil's Ghost. I want more! Two of the three main characters drop out of the narrative before the end of the book. While there are allusions to what happened, the reader is left to wonder and I don't think that's fair. It cost this book a star. Otherwise the prose is wonderful, the characters deep and flawed and lovable, the settings are varied and beautifully described. If asked I would hold this book up and say 'this is how you write a novel.' As I finished I found myself comparin ...more
Will Byrnes
Oct 29, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anil is an expat Sri Lankan, expert in the forensics of old bones. She returns to Sri Lanka to examine archeological remains and discovers evidence of recent atrocities. This is a portrait of a Sri Lanka riven with murderous conflict, a fascist state in which dissent yields death. Thousand are murdered on an ongoing basis, and no evidence of wrongdoing will be allowed to reach daylight.

Anil fights her own memories of life in Sri Lanka, family, relationships. There are several memorable characte
Apr 14, 2012 Mag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anil’s Ghost takes place in Sri Lanka during the recent civil war. It is a haunting novel written in a form of extended poetic flashbacks, intermingling with real non-fiction accounts.

Anil, an American forensic scientist of Sri Lankan origin, comes back after 15 years to her homeland as a UN inspector. Her task is to check if war atrocities are taking place there. On her arrival, she is sent to work with an elusive government official, an archeologist, Sarath. Working with him on an archeologica
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He was born to a Burgher family of Dutch-Tamil-Sinhalese-Portuguese origin. He moved to England with his mother in 1954. After relocating to Canada in 1962, Ondaatje became a Canadian citizen. Ondaatje studied for a time at Bishops College School and Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Quebec, but moved to Toronto and received his BA from the University of Toronto and his MA from Queen's Universit ...more
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I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear.... 29 likes
“Jung was absolutely right about one thing. We are occupied by gods. The mistake is to identify with the god occupying you.” 15 likes
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