Anil's Ghost

Ondaatje, Michael

  11 Reviews

Forensic anthropologist, Anil Tissera, returns to Sri Lanka as a representative of an international human rights organisation to assist in an investigation into suspected mass political murders throughout the 1980s and 1990s. With almost hallucinatory imagery and the gradual interweaving of characters' pasts, Ondaatje leads his readers into a riveting mystery. Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for Fiction, 2000.

Comments from Groups

Whilst most found this book a difficult read it did produce interesting and lengthy discussion. Ngongotaha 002

Great Read. The awareness of the atrocities carried out in Sri Lanka, gave us such a terrible insight - through the author's multi-layered writing. Auckland 224

Mixed responses. Required a careful and thoughtful read. Several readers enjoyed the book. Westport 004

All agreed a very interesting read. Beautiful poetic prose for the locations described. A disturbing subject. Several of us commented on the quote "The reason for war is war." Auckland 015

We all found Anil's Ghost challenging. A lively discussion, but most of us were in two minds if we had liked it enough! Wanaka 012



We found it interesting from a cultural and historical perspective. However the style in which it was written was a bit disjointed and not a linear narrative that we're more used to. This was helped by the extra notes though.
ROTO 007
Mixed reaction by group - only enjoyed by a few.
AUCK 335
All members found this a demanding book to read. One said that usually she found books hard to put down, but this was hard to pick up. However those who read it ( two found it too disturbing) felt it was clever, mysterious, dark and real. It helped the reader not only understand but feel the fear that ordinary people lived with on a daily basis. The current conflict in Syria was likened to the situation in Sri Lanka with its complexity of "sides", which leads to an all pervading fear as "enemies" are everywhere.
Mixed opinions on this one - while all appreciated the quality of his writing, many were put off by the atrocities of civil war, and did not enjoy the story. Perhaps this just underpins the brilliance of his writing, which was very subtle and understated. A complex read, recommended but with reservations.
WELL 178
Everyone enjoyed the book. There was an awareness that it is a book that requires more work from the reader than we actually put in, and we felt that we were the poorer for it. Ondaatje has a poet's tendency to understatement, as well as a wonderful gift for language.
Most enjoyed the book and nearly all finished it, despite it being a bit challenging to read. Reading the associated notes first helps to understand the plot.
Overall a very enjoyable, memorable and instructive read. It opened up a world we didn't really have an in-depth understanding of beforehand. It generated very good discussion because of the incredible depth in the book; a complex read. Definitely read the notes before you read it as it will help you piece the novel together.
Well! Most of our group have headed to warner climes so only 3 of us read this book. Weighty content, challenging, but beautifully written - poetry at times.
AUCK 166
The notes didn't accurately reflect our experience - we didn't find it difficult to follow at all. It was easy to read and self explanatory. Illustrated a lack of value of human life - many themes cleverly intertwined.
Divided views - some loved it and some hated it. Great discussion from those who rated it highly. It's a shame the remainder gave up on it.
NELS 044
Excellent, albeit grim book. A tad disorganised.