Customer Reviews for

Anil's Ghost

Average Rating 3.5
( 26 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Graceful, Concentrated

Ondaatji, the author of The English Patient, reveals key points in the worldwide search for hidden graves through a tough, dedicated and incredibly focused heroine. This struggle for human rights comes vividly alive through a lush and moving history of Sri Lanka, ever ...
Ondaatji, the author of The English Patient, reveals key points in the worldwide search for hidden graves through a tough, dedicated and incredibly focused heroine. This struggle for human rights comes vividly alive through a lush and moving history of Sri Lanka, ever a victim of arms dealers. A deeply emotional and intense tale.

posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

flat and pretentious

My first thought when finishing Anil's Ghost was 'I hated that.' But I honestly didn't hate it. I was just bored the whole time I was reading it. Ondaatje's style reminded me of Louise Erdrich 'author of Love Medicine'--by that I mean he used metaphors and 'big words...
My first thought when finishing Anil's Ghost was 'I hated that.' But I honestly didn't hate it. I was just bored the whole time I was reading it. Ondaatje's style reminded me of Louise Erdrich 'author of Love Medicine'--by that I mean he used metaphors and 'big words' almost awkwardly, as though trying to prove his prowess as a writer. I also feel the need to mention that the dialogue was not marked by any 'he said' or 'she said'. It just went on and on without any indication of who was speaking, and I found myself having to count the lines to figure out who said what. In addition, there was no change in tone. It didn't matter if someone was being sliced open by a knife, a skeleton being found, or Anil was out buying food the tone stayed exactly the same, which gave the book an extremely flat narration. This is part of the reason it failed to hold my interest. Another reason was the characters. I liked Anil, but as the book went on, the reader hears less and less about Anil, and more about characters that are less likeable. Lastly, the plot was constantly halted by episodes that, while they drew the reader's attention to certain political or personal strifes, did not, in my opinion, really enrich the plot at all. The novel stradles the line between being episodic and being a flowing story. I wanted it to pick one or the other--but it didn't. I don't want to say it was all bad, because it wasn't. Ondaatje portrayed Sri Lanka very well, and through his knowledge and description the country was illustrated very vividly. Overall, I would say if you REALLY want to read this book, don't waste your money buying it. Get it out of the library first.

posted by Anonymous on July 19, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    Graceful, Concentrated

    Ondaatji, the author of The English Patient, reveals key points in the worldwide search for hidden graves through a tough, dedicated and incredibly focused heroine. This struggle for human rights comes vividly alive through a lush and moving history of Sri Lanka, ever a victim of arms dealers. A deeply emotional and intense tale.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2007

    flat and pretentious

    My first thought when finishing Anil's Ghost was 'I hated that.' But I honestly didn't hate it. I was just bored the whole time I was reading it. Ondaatje's style reminded me of Louise Erdrich 'author of Love Medicine'--by that I mean he used metaphors and 'big words' almost awkwardly, as though trying to prove his prowess as a writer. I also feel the need to mention that the dialogue was not marked by any 'he said' or 'she said'. It just went on and on without any indication of who was speaking, and I found myself having to count the lines to figure out who said what. In addition, there was no change in tone. It didn't matter if someone was being sliced open by a knife, a skeleton being found, or Anil was out buying food the tone stayed exactly the same, which gave the book an extremely flat narration. This is part of the reason it failed to hold my interest. Another reason was the characters. I liked Anil, but as the book went on, the reader hears less and less about Anil, and more about characters that are less likeable. Lastly, the plot was constantly halted by episodes that, while they drew the reader's attention to certain political or personal strifes, did not, in my opinion, really enrich the plot at all. The novel stradles the line between being episodic and being a flowing story. I wanted it to pick one or the other--but it didn't. I don't want to say it was all bad, because it wasn't. Ondaatje portrayed Sri Lanka very well, and through his knowledge and description the country was illustrated very vividly. Overall, I would say if you REALLY want to read this book, don't waste your money buying it. Get it out of the library first.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    I read this book several years ago, and am buying it for my Nook

    I read this book several years ago, and am buying it for my Nook to read again.  I've never forgotten many of the scenes that stayed in my mind and sort of haunted me.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    A must read


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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Left me curious about her future...

    I've never read any books by this author before "Anil's Ghost". I really enjoyed reading about Anil's journey through her past and present. The book left me wondering about her future and I love it when books do that. I like the style of writing as well. One loses the inner dialogue we all have with ourselves when watching a movie. I enjoyed Anil's inner dialogue and, in her own way, the character inspired me.

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  • Posted December 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Anil's Ghost offers a good solid read paired with suspense, drama and good old fashioned fun.

    The story pulls the reader in by first detailing forensic specifics on a crime. Then, by use of push and pull, the reader is led back and forth in time and events with adventures, mystery, suspense and love all along the way. Thrown in for good measure are cultural and historical details which make the story vivid and which tug at the reader. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2007

    Grasping Novel

    Anil¿s Ghost was a grasping, suspenseful and insightful novel. Anil, native to Sri Lanka, furthers her education in the Western world and returns to Sri Lanka to do anthropologist work for an international organization. As she undertakes the challenges of being a ¿foreigner¿ the novel¿s plot advances in complexity as the trails between man and corruption and discover progress. Anil¿s Ghost is a timeless novel as it touches the topics of love, corruption, mystery, understanding and quest. This novel is gripping and tantalizing to a broad audience as the author develops Anil¿s experience trying to discover if the government was directly related to a murder. It is capturing because it presents the concept that the government may not always be correct. The author creates a wonderful novel with her ability to capture the emotions of her characters. She achieves this through her realistic description of the daily routines and culture that the people of Sri Lanka live within. This was a horizon broadening book that was wonderful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    Not the greatest with plot, but great in themes

    Anil's Ghost is a beautiful novel, but it's not the greatest novel. However, what I did enjoy about this novel is not the story itself, but the themes that is present within it. A few themes I noticed was how history has a tendency to repeat itself by the acts of human nature ('The most precisely recorded moments of history lay adjacent to the extreme actions of nature of civilization' pg 55). Another is the search for an identity because Anil coveted her brother¿s name so much and despised her own and did nothing to have his name as her own. I think that this theme is rather important because it also kind of connections with redemption and trying to find whom someone truly is. Another theme I noticed was how the government can manipulate its people into thinking one way, such as the one in AG. But unlike most nonfiction books, AG doesn't hit the reader with full on clichés, but instead makes the reader think about their perceptions on various aspects of life. What I didn't like about AG is how there truly isn¿t an ending because AG does leave the reader hanging, but in a bad way. Another thing I didn¿t like was the fact that the story seems to lose its plot line somewhere around half way through and how much of the story is told in flashbacks. Because of this, the book jumps into the past and back into the future and often times I didn't even know if I was reading a passage from the present or the past, but I think that almost because of this, Ondaatje exerts the theme of how the shadow of the past holds on the present

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    A Cataclyst For Your Ideas

    This novel is rich with language so descriptive, it paints a stunning picture of the environment enveloping the characters. The author has done a spectacular job transporting the reader into the country of his origin, and the plight in their history. It is a slow page turner though, and one might need to re-read a few lines in order to understand what is going on. Nevertheless, it is still a cataclyst for ideas about beauty, love, hate, death, and family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    Good, but where is the real ending?

    This book, hwile still being a captivating read, left me confused at the end. The story seems to trail off, and the ending seems to bequite bland for a story that up until then, had been a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004

    Average

    Anil's Ghost was a book about the ethnic and political wars that began to fester in Sri Lanka during the 1980's. Anil is a young forensic scientist on a Human Rights investigation out to prove political murders are being committed. However interesting this book appears to be in the beginning... ultimately it lacks the powerful ending one would expect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2003

    Confusing?

    I read thsi book for a project in english class and it was a good book. It was confusing at times, but it was good. The ending was bad. The story ended for all of the chracters except the main character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2003

    One of those books I couldn't stop reading without knowing why.

    I really could not put this book down. I am not sure however what made it intriguing for me. I'm still trying to digest the novel and connect the pieces. I was dissapointed because somewhere about 1/3 in the plot seems to be lost; There is no real conclusion. Anil accepts her Sri Lankan heritage, but she reaches no other epiphanies. The book really leaves you hanging. (But not in a good way.) As a previous reviewer said, borrow this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2003

    Was there a plot?

    As an adoring fan, the author fell of his pedastal with this book. The characters were well planned and wonderfully rich, but the book as a whole felt like a character sketch for an intended book. Upon deciding not to write the book, he decided to string a weak plot throughout, leaving the reader unsatisfied and uneasy. I just ask the author to go back to the books with plot and poetry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2001

    Disappointing

    As a huge fan of the author , I was thoroughly disappointed the story meanders at a snail's pace and frankly it failed to rouse any semblance of interest for any of the main characters

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Poisonwood Bible is a Masterpiece

    Barbara Kingsolver is my favorite author, bar none. The Poisonwood Bible is a masterpiece! My daughter is in the Peace Corps in Africa and many things are the same today as they were in the Poisowood Bible, back in the late 50's and 60's (and beyond). There are many underlying issues brought out in this book that one can ponder, if one wishes. I can't believe some people wrote reviews and didn't even finish the book! It does take awhile to get 'into' but when finished it is a phenominal read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001

    Could have been a lot better

    Michael Ondaatje is a beautiful, poetic writer, no argument here, but poetic writing falls as flat as huge special effects without a good story to flesh it out, and unfortunately, Anil's Ghost doesn't have an interesting story to tell. Well, it might have, but it wasn¿t developed nearly enough. The main characters all have troubled pasts, but none seem to have any present passions or future goals. Ondaatje does paint a vivid picture of tumultuous Sri Lanka and its recent history, much of which I didn't know and was interested to learn, but he doesn't develop a story to support the epic backdrop, as he did in The English Patient. Almasy may have been distant and solitary, but he had a passion for learning and exploring that you couldn't help but adore. Hana desperately tried to escape into nursing, but she had an inner spark awakened by the Patient and Kip that blossomed into joy. Anil similarly escapes into her profession but there's no trace of joy in her past, present or future, and despite the atrocities around her, ends the story essentially unchanged. The murder mystery is abandoned halfway through the book, making way for flashback after flashback, including two nearly identical scenes of doctors being kidnapped, and then returns for a quick and unsatisfying resolution. Practically all the flashbacks are used to explain a character's past, not to create any tension or mystery in the present. All that said, I still eagerly await Ondaatje's next book. When he finds a strong story to support all the other wonderful things he can do, he's one of today's best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2000

    Borrow this one from a friend

    I really thought this book was poorly written. The author does use some really nice poetic descriptions of things but they weren't anything memorable. The book jumps around so much going from past to present to future that it got very confusing. The book focused too much on the character's backgrounds rather than the story. The story was totally anticlimactic and parts of the story had absolutely nothing to do with anything else. Obviously a lot of people liked this novel so I would just recommend that you borrow the book from a friend rather than spend good money for it. It was a real let down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2000

    The master of intelligent fiction has returned

    After a four year hiatus and my quick digestion of all his works, Michael Onaadtje once agin mystifies and amazes me. With Anil's Ghost, he depicts the horrible atrocities which seem so commonplace on the evening news, yet here he shows how this maddening world is so routine to the citizens of his tortured homeland. He through Anil shows the evil that humanity is capable of and all in the name of government or more specifically the lust for power. I also loved how throughout the novel he weaves in the interesting ancient history of the people and the places while showing a stark contrast to the present problems of the modern action in the book. The characters and the challenges that they must grapple with are reminiscent of those in his other works but these are much more viable and yet you feel no compassion for none until the very last page. I loved this book and hungrily wait for his next foray into the magical realm of literature.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2000

    Saddest story beautifully told

    The beautiful prose in this book is absolutely reminiscent of 'The English Patient' but the story is much harder to handle. If nothing else this book will bring to the reading public's attention the near-hopelessness of the situation in Sri Lanka. This story is very tough on your compassion mechanisms because of the apparent lack of any solution to the horror of multiple-sided open and clandestine warfare in the country. I loved the characters in the book. They are truly wonderful but most are not drawn fully enough for me, described only in enough depth to augment the central story of the discovery and identification of the skeleton that is central to the story. I loved the wonderful rich poetic style that the author is known for, and I loved the spare but rich wording of his various situations and flashbacks, but the book for me was tough because of its inherent sadness and hopelessness. A beautiful book about a terrible situation. But I wouldn't miss it for the world.

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