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Entralling, yet difficult read
This is one of my favorite books. I have to admit it is not a vacation book from either a writing viewpoint or from a subject matter. The atmosphere of Sri Lanka during that time is hauntingly brought alive in Ondaatje's prose.
I chose this book for our book club, based on Ondaatje's successful novel The English Patient.
I do not recommend
All the members are struggling with the book. It is hard to get pulled in, yet one is aware that beautiful poetry and clever narration are going hand in hand, drawing the reader toward an intriguing ending.
I finished the book. It was a struggle. I'm re-reading it before our meeting because I need to facilitate the discussion. The second time around is not only necessary, but it is a more rewarding read than the first time. I guess it takes work to appreciate Ondaatje's work.
I did not like the book at all. And no, I didn't understand most of it. Most of the time, I thought it was boring. I have no idea what the chapter on her friend in Arizona had to do with the main story but I liked that chapter better than most of the others. And the ending was like..."I'm tired of writing so I'll just end the book now". And for me to give a book a good rating, it has to have a good ending. It doesn't have to be the ending I want but it has to really end the story--and this one didn't.
I really liked this book, it is not an easy book to read but I found it very moving. Its prose is clipped, clear and poetic at the same time with a great depth of feeling. It did bring tears to my eyes and should be read a second time to bring out the things one missed the first time round. I visited Sri Lanka in the early nineties and it was still unsettled then. This book describes the atmosphere of fear and anxiety very well as well as having to carry on regardless whilst one is still alive and being able to do something about the suffering of others.
My First Ondaatje Book...
Each writer has a different style, and some I really love, and some take awhile to learn to love (like Charles Dickens). I think that Ondaatje will be one that takes me awhile to learn to love, as it is NOT a simple and direct telling of a story. I also believe I will have to read this book one more time to really understand it.
That being said, the book is a wonderful description of some very realistic characters. Well, as far as I can guess from their being from Sri Lanka. The author shows many different kinds of love and loyalty, and that love and loyalty can be disguised under many other layers. There is also enough detail about the historical time and place to make me want to learn more about Sri Lanka. That is always a good sign.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book as a "light read" but something for when you really want to dig deeply into some lives, some happenings, some history, and some ambiguity.
Anil’s Ghost, in short, is an enthralling read. It is a novel that should be read – not least because it deals with the weighty issue of war in a way that is realistic, sensitive and enlightening, but also because it so skilfully blends in other raw aspects of the human condition: love, passion, sex and death are all covered here. Ondaatje's writing style is very poetic, graceful and flowing. The only negative is that I felt, at times, that his dense style obscured parts of the plot. It left me inspired to research a little further into the contemporary history of Sri Lanka, plus desperate to read more of Ondaatje's work.
I loved the book, I loved its atmosphere, bit mysterious,bit real, I loved its ending [comment removed due to plot spoiler]. The writting is elegant, poetic.I had to research about Sri Lanka in order to be able to travel with the characters and that was great adventure.
I did not like this book at all. I was listening to it on tape and it was so confusing. I could not follow what was going on.