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Staff Pick of the Week: Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

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In honor of Michael Ondaatje’s newly released Warlight, this week’s Staff Pick is Anil’s Ghost. It tells the story of Anil, a Sri Lankan expat returning to her country of origin for the first time in fifteen years. Since leaving, she has studied in Britain and America to become an expert forensic pathologist. Her return visit is on behalf of an international human rights organization that intends to monitor the ever worsening conditions of the vicious Sri Lankan civil war. With the help of a government-selected archaeologist named Sarath, she will use her skill to examine the unidentified victims of the country’s countless political killings. As she struggles to make sense of a war between three equally murderous and tyrannical factions, Anil must try to reconstruct the stories of those who cannot speak for themselves while grappling with her own past and sense of self. Steeped in beautifully fragmented and poetic prose, Anil’s Ghost examines the concept of identity and the political act of remembering (or choosing to forget).

“Gorgeously exotic…. As he did in The English Patient, Mr. Ondaatje is able to commingle anguish and seductiveness in fierce, unexpected ways.”–The New York Times

“Secrets turn powerless in the open air.” – Anil





Warlight is now available!


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“In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself–shadowed and luminous at once–we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.” -taken from








Thanks for reading!

-George, FTPL

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