Anil's Ghost By Michael Ondaatje

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The Independent Culture

Anil is a Sri Lankan forensic anthropologist returning to her homeland after 15 years in the West to compile a report for the Geneva-based Centre for Human Rights. Unearthing a skeleton she knows was buried by the Government, she reconstructs its identity both scientifically and with the help of an archaeologist and an artist. Ondaatje meanwhile reconstructs his country's recent bloody history with a mixture of fact and fiction, gruesome anecdotes and haunting imagery. There's a dreamlike fluidity to his story, so that the civil war is at the same time an oppressive shadow looming over each scene, yet also merely a recent rupture in a history of culture that stretches back to antiquity, that will leave its own mark on the landscape for future archaeologists to discover.

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