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Author of eleven books of poetry, four novels and a fictionalized memoir, Michael Ondaatje was born in 1943 in Colombo, capital of the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).A fictional spellbinder which spreads out against the intensely reminiscent setting of Sri Lanka’s landscape and ancient civilization, Anil’s Ghost is a story about love, family, identity, the mysterious enemy, and the hunt to reveal the veiled past. Anil’s Ghost is a masterpiece, a work of art so eerie that it seems haunted by its own characters, describing loss and a desperate attempt to salvage what is left, told by a cast of lonely strangers and phantoms. It explores aloneness and the expected shape of acts which loneliness leads to, it is a reflection on how human beings learn to handle the burden of the past, the pain of the present, and the longing for spiritual releaseThis stark and astounding novel lays the violence of a seemingly futile, messed up war besides the ancient, intricate art and culture of Sri Lanka. The culture of Sri Lanka is not just a culture of death; it’s a complex, subtle, and artistic culture. Anil’s Ghost is set amidst Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, focused on a period in the mid-80s to early 90s when the government was combating both Tamil separatists and Sinhalese.The culture of Sri Lanka plays an important part in Ondaatje’s novel; he uses culture not only to help develop the plot but also to assist the reader in connecting to the country. Ondaatje clearly wanted to write a story about people and their land. For the Sri Lankan people their culture though not widely known to the world is of utmost importance to them. In Sri Lanka, Buddhist historiography challenged colonial history and became the focus of nationalist political identity. While this is acknowledged in the novel, the role played by Buddhism in interethnic conflict with Tamil Hinduism is excluded. In contrast to Anil’s prudence and empiricism, Buddhist passages work to challenge the reality of the unparalleled world and attribute a fundamental illogicality to the processes that governs it. By arguing that the verities of the past and present have been based on chimera, Buddhism relates cultural truths, while it also promises the initiate insight into a higher order of reality, into the suchness of things; its presence in the novel allows Ondaatje to negotiate between a postmodernist cynicism and a modernist desire for inspiring the permanent structures of theology and religious art. Its theory of dependent origins also attributes accountability to compound complexity that introduces an absolving determinism to materialization of present-day evil.The vivid description of scenery, landscapes and weather provides the plot with the necessary backdrop against which the plot unfolds in a mesmerizing manner. Mostly Ondaatje describes weather in his novel as the characters are about to encounter something or an important event is about to take place or even to give an insight of the character’s frame of mind, for example the day after Anil had been identifying the causes of death of the various bodies at the lab Ondaatje skips to a scene describing Anil standing in the “darkness of the garden, following the sound of koha birds busy with their claims and proclamations. She stood there drinking her tea. Then walked to the main road as a light rain began” (Michael Ondaatje2001).Rather than offering a sanitized account that ignores Buddhism’s enmeshment in politics, Ondaatje’s novel addresses the complex relationship between religion, politics, and violence in Sri Lanka.

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