Michael Ondaatje

(Philip Michael Ondaatje)

Michael Ondaatje
Michael Ondaatje
  • Born: September 12, 1943
  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Profession: Author

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A writer uses a pen instead of a scalpel or blow torch.
As a writer, one is busy with archaeology.
I don't have a plan for a story when I sit down to write. I would get quite bored carrying it out.
I don't see novels ending with any real sense of closure.
I see the poem or the novel ending with an open door.
I tend not to know what the plot is or the story is or even the theme. Those things come later, for me.
I'm a Canadian citizen. But I always want to feel at home in Sri Lanka. I'm a member of both countries.
In the book the relationship with Katharine and Almasy is sort of only in the patient's mind.
It doubles your perception, to write from the point of view of someone you're not.
It's a discovery of a story when I write a book, a case of inching ahead on each page and discovering what's beyond in the darkness, beyond where you're writing.
It's a responsibility of the writer to get the reader out of the story somehow.
It's an odd state to be in, blowing the whistle on your home country.
It's why you create characters: so you can argue with yourself.
Once I've discovered the story, I might restructure it, maybe move things around, set up a clue that something is going to happen later, but that happens much later in an editorial capacity.
Research can be a big clunker. It's difficult to know how you can make the historical light.
Right now, I have no idea what I will write or if I will write again.
That's Anil's path. She grows up in Sri Lanka, goes and gets educated abroad, and through fate or chance gets brought back by the Human Rights Commission to investigate war crimes. War & Peace
The first sentence of every novel should be: Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human. Meander if you want to get to town. Time ;Trust
The last three books are much more a case of a moment of history, what happened almost by accident or coincidence, like being in the same elevator or lifeboat. History
The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.
To write about someone like myself would be very limiting.
Truth, at the wrong time, can be dangerous. Truth ;Time
When you're writing, it's as if you're within a kind of closed world.
You don't want to write your own opinion, you don't want to just represent yourself, but represent yourself through someone else.
You want to suggest something new, but at the same time, resolve the drama of the action in the novel. Time
You're getting everyone's point of view at the same time, which, for me, is the perfect state for a novel: a cubist state, the cubist novel. Time

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