Matt's Reviews > Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
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's review
Jul 31, 2010

really liked it

A beautifully written book, with a muted thriller taking place in Sri Lanka to keep the pace going. I definitely want to read more Ondaatje after this. Some favorite lines...

"She used to believe that meaning allowed a person a door to escape grief and fear. But she saw that those who were slammed and stained by violence lost the power of language and logic... In a fearful nation, public sorrow was stamped down by the climate of uncertainty. If a father protested a son's death, it was feared another family member would be killed. If people you knew disappeared, there was a chance they might stay alive if you did not cause trouble. This was the scarring psychosis in the country. Death, loss, was 'unfinished,' so you could not walk through it. There had been years of night visitations, kidnappings or murders in broad daylight. The only chance was that the creatures who fought would consume themselves. All that was left of law was a belief in an eventual revenge towards those who had power." (pp. 55-56)

"He certainly opened up the geography of the bedroom, insisting on lovemaking in their nonsoundproof living room, on the wobbly sink in the shared bathroom down the hall, on the boundary line quite near the long-stop during a county cricket match. These private acts in an almost public sphere echoed his social nature. There seemed to be no difference for him between privacy and friendship with acquaintances. Later she would read that this was the central quality of a monster." (p. 143)

Description of Gamini's childhood is great, saying how he's only secure when doing things on his own. Ends in "Eventually he felt himself on a boat of demons and himself to be the only clearheaded and sane person there. He was a perfect participant in the war." (222-224)

"The important thing is to be able to live in a place or a situation where you must use your sixth sense all the time". (p. 231)

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