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The place is modern-day Sri Lanka, the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, off the southern tip of India. It is a country steeped in centuries of cultural achievement and tradition, and forced into the late 20th century by the ravages of civil war and the consequences of a country divided against itself. Into this maelstrom steps a young woman, Anil Tissera, born in Sri Lanka, educated in England and America, a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human-rights group to work with local officials to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island.
Bodies are discovered. Skeletons. And particularly one, nicknamed "Sailor". What follows is a story about love, family, and identity, about the unknown enemy and the quest to unlock the hidden past - all propelled by a riveting mystery.
2000 Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award: Fiction
"The beauty in this novel is the lyricism Ondaatje interjects into even mundane situations." (Book)
"Ondaatje's writing is stunningly lyrical, at once dreamy and detailed." (AudioFile)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By jayne on 04-30-08
The subject matter of this book, forensic anthropology, seems an unlikley one for poetic imagery. Yet Andaatje's gift as a writer seems to be the ability to infuse a book with life's harsh realities side by side with glints of light and vitality. It takes the reader to places far away and hard to imagine. But once introduced to the place and the people all make perfect sense.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Julie on 12-02-04
nope, not a good book- an excellent book!
"Any reviewer who would refer to this novel as good is lying, and kidding the reader." Well that's just stupid, sorry, my opinion, but there it is. I love this audio, and am pretty confident that I?m not the only person on the planet who feels this way. It?s true his writing has more in common with poetry, instead of this week's blockbuster hit. That doesn't play well with some people, but others like it just fine. If you read The English Patient and liked that one, you will like this one too.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful