is Michael Ondaatje's eagerly awaited follow-up to his classic Booker prize-winning novel The English Patient
. Drawing on Ondaatje's own Sri Lankan heritage, wonderfully explored in his travel narrative Running in the Family
, Anil's Ghost
is located in contemporary Sri Lanka, in the midst of interminable internecine civil war between government forces, separatist Tamils and antigovernment insurgents.
The novel's action revolves around Anil Tissera, a young forensic anthropologist, born in Sri Lanka but educated in Europe and America, who "had courted foreignness", and "was at ease whether on the Bakerloo line or on the highways around Santa Fe". Anil returns to the country of her birth after 15 years on a United Nations sponsored investigation into the escalating number of politically motivated murders engulfing the island. As Anil begins to realise the scale of the murder and horror which her investigations reveal, it becomes clear that "the darkest Greek tragedies were innocent compared with what was happening here". She reluctantly teams up with Sarath Diyasena, "the archaeologist selected by the government" to investigate a particularly sensitive murder; skeletons discovered buried in the Bandarawela caves, one of the most archaeologically sensitive sites in the entire country. One skeleton in particular fascinates both Anil and Sarath. Simply known as "Sailor", the quest for the skeleton's identity sucks both Anil and Sarath into the terrifying heart of darkness which makes up contemporary Sri Lankan politics. Ondaatje reflects upon the ancient history of Sri Lanka through the fragments of history and identity that Anil and Sarath uphold in the face of the murder and chaos which surrounds them.
Although Anil's Ghost is a poetic and beautifully written book, it is also a tough, uncompromising and brave novel about a terrifying conflict that the world has chosen to ignore. --Jerry Brotton
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When forensic anthropologist Anil Tissera returns to Sri Lanka she finds the country ravaged by civil war. She has been sent there to investigate the organised murder campaigns that have engulfed the island and what follows is a story of love, family and identity and a quest to unlock the hidden past. Superb reviews for this new novel by the author of the Booker Prize winning The English Patient.