Quotes from Anil's Ghost

Michael Ondaatje ·  311 pages

Rating: (13.2K votes)


I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear....
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“Jung was absolutely right about one thing. We are occupied by gods. The mistake is to identify with the god occupying you.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“American movies, English books - remember how they all end?" Gamini asked that night. "The American or the Englishman gets on a plane and leaves. That's it. The camera leaves with him. He looks out of the window at Mombasa or Vietnam or Jakarta, someplace now he can look at through the clouds. The tired hero. A couple of words to the girl beside him. He's going home. So the war, to all purposes, is over. That's enough reality for the West. It's probably the history of the last two hundred years of Western political writing. Go home. Write a book. Hit the circuit.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“For when people leave our company in our time we are never certain of seeing them again, or seeing them unaltered.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“Secrets turn powerless in the open air.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost



“The important thing is to be able to live in a place or a situation where you must use your sixth sense all the time.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“A person will walk through a hundred doors to carry out the whims of the dead, not realizing he is burying himself away from the others.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“At night, returning from work, Anil would slip out of her sandals and stand in the shallow water, her toes among the white petals, her arms folded as she undressed the day, removing layers of events and incidents so they would no longer be within her. She would stand there for a while, then walk wet-footed to bed.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“I don't think clarity is necessarily truth. It's simplicity, isn't it?”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“You're an archaeologist. Truth comes finally into the light. It's in the bones and sediment.

It's in character and nuance and mood.

That is what governs us in our lives, that's not the truth.

For the living it is the truth.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost



“I can never understand someone by his strengths. Nothing is revealed there. I can only understand people by their weaknesses.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“Even if you are a monk, like my brother, passion or slaughter will meet you someday. For you cannot survive as a monk if society does not exist. You renounce society, but to do so you must first be a part of if, learn your decision from it. This is the paradox of retreat. My brother entered temple life. He escaped the world and the world came after him. He was seventy when he was killed by someone, perhaps someone from the time when he was breaking free - for that is the difficult stage, when you leave the world.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


“...small talk plunged to its death around him.”
― Michael Ondaatje, quote from Anil's Ghost


About the author

Michael Ondaatje
Born place: in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Born date September 12, 1943
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