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Anil’s Ghost (Michael Ondaatje)

West meets East in this beautifully written book about Sri Lanka. Anil Tiserra, born in Sri Lanka but educated in the West, returns to her homeland with a job to do. As a forensic anthropologist, she is sent by an international human rights group to uncover the identity of those responsible for the organized mass murders of innocent civilians. These deaths were frequent, unexplained occurrences during Sri Lanka’s civil war, in which there aren’t two but three sides: the government, the Tamil rebels from the north, and another group of independence seekers from the south.

Although Anil brings her mostly Western perceptions with her to Sri Lanka, she must rediscover the parts of her Eastern identity in order to fully understand the difficult political and human situation she encounters there. With one foot in each hemisphere, Anil finds that it takes much emotional effort to bridge the gap between the two. Anil’s Ghost is a search for truth, identity, and perspective, and we are invited to join in that search with Anil.


This Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide (99 pages) will introduce the reader to:

  • Ondaatje’s themes of truth and perspective within the cycle of war.
  • The significance of names and naming in the examination of personal and national identity. This includes the title, Anil’s Ghost, and how Anil came to have her name.
  • How Ondaatje uses sensory images to build the tension in the reader’s imagination, parallel to the tensions felt by the victims of war.
  • The function and importance of the act of "witness" in relation to the themes of truth and perspective.
  • The beauty and dignity of Ondaatje’s descriptive passages which highlight Sri Lanka’s glorious history, its beauty, and its strength of character.

Bookclub-in-a-Box will guide you through the timely and timeless questions that Ondaatje poses about the nature of war, a topic which is extremely relevant to today’s troubled world. Every Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide includes complete coverage of the themes and symbols, writing style and interesting background information on the novel and the author.


Preview the Guide

Discussion guide does not include the novel itself. This product is a PDF file — if you do not receive an email receipt with download link within a few minutes of completing your order, check your spam folder, then contact us.


Price: $6.98

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