3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Forensic Study of Sri Lanka's Bitter Conflict in the 1980's and 90's.,
This review is from: Anil's Ghost (Paperback)
Although this is a work of fiction, its detailed analysis of Sri Lanka's conflict read more like a documentary. Ondaatje's understanding of forensic anthroplogy and for the gruelling work the medical staff dealing with numerous bomb and minefield victims was impressive. For the most part the reader is given a politically neutral observation of the troubles. The character of Anil did not work for me and the principal reason I did not enjoy the novel. Anil's character was meticulously drawn and there were interesting aspects to her background: how she became to be called Anil: a woman who had left Sri Lanka aged 18, studied medicine in England and North Amrica, and worked in troubled spots in Africa and Guatamala, and a relationship with a married man called Cussil but sadly Ondaatje's Anil is cold and dispassionate and her role in the novel virtually peters out by the end. Ondaatje may have been using this technique deliberately after all the book is called Anil's Ghost but I wondered why the novel seems to focus on Gamini towards the end whose tenuous connection to Anil through Sarath seemed flimsy other than to bring the brutally ugly experiences for a Doctor in Sri Lanka at the time. All in all Ondaatje evokes heart rending detail but as a novel I was less interested.