Michael Ondaatje - Author

About the Author

Michael Ondaatje is the author of five novels including Divisadero, published by Bloomsbury in September 2007 and in paperback in August 2008, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and shortlisted for The Giller Prize and the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He has also written a memoir, a non-fiction book on film and several books of poetry. He co-edited Lost Classics, a compendium of wonderful short essays, with Michael Redhill, Esta Spalding and Linda Spalding. His novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize; another of his novels, Anil’s Ghost, won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize and the Prix Medicis. Born in Sri Lanka, he now lives in Toronto.

 

Author photo © Ulla Montan

Featured books by Michael Ondaatje

Other books by Michael Ondaatje

Warlight

Warlight

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 07/06/2018

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, read by George Blagden.In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself - at once both shadowed and luminous - Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn't know or understand in that time, and it is this journey - through reality, recollection, and imagination - that is told in this magnificent novel.

The English Patient Winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize

The English Patient Winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/05/2018

WINNER OF THE GOLDEN MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018 `Magnificent' Sunday Times 'The best piece of fiction I've read in years' Independent on Sunday The final curtain is closing on the Second World War and in an abandoned Italian village. Hana, a nurse, tends to her sole remaining patient. Rescued from a burning plane, the anonymous Englishman is damaged beyond recognition and haunted by painful memories. The only clue Hana has to unlocking his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire - a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes detailing a tragic love affair.

Warlight

Warlight

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/05/2018

In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself - at once both shadowed and luminous - Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn't know or understand in that time, and it is this journey - through reality, recollection, and imagination - that is told in this magnificent novel.

Warlight

Warlight

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2018

In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself - at once both shadowed and luminous - Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn't know or understand in that time, and it is this journey - through reality, recollection, and imagination - that is told in this magnificent novel.

Warlight

Warlight

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 08/05/2018

NATIONAL BEST SELLERFrom the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself--shadowed and luminous at once--we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

In the Skin of a Lion Picador Classic

In the Skin of a Lion Picador Classic

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/05/2017

With an introduction by Anne Enright Before the real city could be seen it had to be imagined, the way rumours and tall tales were a kind of charting. It is the 1920s, and Patrick Lewis has arrived in the bustling city of Toronto, leaving behind his Canadian wilderness home. Immersed in the lives of the people who surround him - the immigrants building the city, as well as those who dreamed it into being - Patrick begins to learn, from their stories, the history of the city itself. And he has his own adventures: searching for a missing millionaire, tunnelling beneath Lake Ontario, falling in love. In the Skin of a Lion is Michael Ondaatje's sparkling predecessor to his Booker Prize-winning The English Patient. Here we encounter Hana the orphaned girl and Caravaggio the thief for the first time, as well as a large cast of other characters, all lovingly and intimately portrayed. Exquisite and musical, In the Skin of a Lion is a novel that challenges the boundary between history and myth. It is a stunning modern classic.

Little America in Western Australia

Little America in Western Australia

Author: Michael Ondaatje, Anthony Barker Format: eBook Release Date: 01/07/2015

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The Cat's Table

The Cat's Table

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2012

'What had there been before such a ship in my life? A dugout canoe on a river journey? A launch in Trincomalee harbour? There were always fishing boats on our horizon. But I could never imagine the grandeur of this castle that was to cross the sea'. In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner in Colombo bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the lowly 'cat's table' - as far from the Captain's table as can be - with a ragtag group of adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship crosses the Indian Ocean the boys tumble from one adventure to another,and at night they spy on a shackled prisoner - his crime and fate a mystery that will haunt them forever...

Cat's Table

Cat's Table

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 04/10/2011

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the ';cat's table'as far from the Captain's Table as can bewith a ragtag group of ';insignificant' adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury. But there are other diversions as well: one man talks with them about jazz and women, another opens the door to the world of literature. The narrator's elusive, beautiful cousin Emily becomes his confidante, allowing him to see himself ';with a distant eye' for the first time, and to feel the first stirring of desire. Another Cat's Table denizen, the shadowy Miss Lasqueti, is perhaps more than what she seems. And very late every night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner, his crime and his fate a galvanizing mystery that will haunt them forever. As the narrative moves between the decks and holds of the ship and the boy's adult years, it tells a spellbinding storyby turns poignant and electrifyingabout the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a spectacular sea voyage.From the Hardcover edition.

The English Patient

The English Patient

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/2011

Hana, a Canadian nurse, exhausted by death, and grieving for her own dead father; the maimed thief-turned-Allied-agent, Caravaggio; Kip, the emotionally detached Indian sapper - each is haunted in different ways by the man they know only as the English patient, a nameless burn victim who lies in an upstairs room. His extraordinary knowledge and morphine-induced memories - of the North African desert, of explorers and tribes, of history and cartography; and also of forbidden love, suffering and betrayal - illuminate the story, and leave all the characters for ever changed.

Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2011

Anil's Ghost transports us to Sri Lanka, a country steeped in centuries of tradition, now forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of a bloody civil war. Enter Anil Tissera, a young woman and forensic anthropologist born in Sri Lanka but educted in the West, sent by an international human rights group to identify the victims of the murder campaigns sweeping the island. When Anil discovers that the bones found in an ancient burial site are in fact those of a much more recent victim, her search for the terrible truth hidden in her homeland begins. What follows is a story about love, about family, about identity - a story driven by a riventing mystery.

Handwriting

Handwriting

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2011

The poems in Handwriting are memories of Sri Lanka: the rituals and traditions, history and geography, the smells and tastes and colours of his first home. Here are sunless forests, cattle-bells, stilt-walkers 'with the movement of prehistoric birds'; a Buddha buried 'so roots/like fingers of a blind monk/spread for two hundred years over his face'; 'saffron and panic seed, lotus flowers, sandalwood; a lover, who lay her fearless heart/light as a barn owl/against him all night'. Handwriting is an elegy for lost childhood, for a culture and language lost to the turmoil of history, but it is also a glimpse of the source of the writer's delicate, erotic, mysterious imagination. By focussing on writing frankly about beautiful things, Ondaatje takes the poems beyond narrative to these simple, deeply sensual images - given to us in a language that is pared, cursive and exquisite.

Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/03/2011

A novel by the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient . The result is a disturbing and timeless revelatory journey.

Running in the Family

Running in the Family

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/10/2009

'During certain hours, at certain years in our lives, we see ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that were destroyed I think all of our lives have been terribly shaped by what went on before us.' Twenty-five years after leaving his native Sri Lanka for the cool winters of Ontario, a chaotic dream of tropical heat and barking dogs pushes Michael Ondaatje to travel back home and revisit a childhood and a family he never fully understood. Along with his siblings and children, Ondaatje gathers rumours, anecdotes, poems, records and memories to piece together this fragmented portrayal of his family's past, his father's destructive alcoholism and the colourful stories and secrets of ancestors both disgraced and adored throughout centuries of Sri Lankan society. In an exotic, evocative portrait of the heat, wildlife, sounds and silences of the Sri Lankan landscape, Ondaatje combines vivid recreations of a privileged, eccentric older generation with a deeply personal reconciliatory journey in which he explores his own ghosts, and how his family's extraordinary history continues to influence his life.

Running in the Family

Running in the Family

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/08/2009

'During certain hours, at certain years in our lives, we see ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that were destroyed...I think all of our lives have been terribly shaped by what went on before us.' Twenty-five years after leaving his native Sri Lanka for the cool winters of Ontario, a chaotic dream of tropical heat and barking dogs pushes Michael Ondaatje to travel back home and revisit a childhood and a family he never fully understood. Along with his siblings and children, Ondaatje gathers rumours, anecdotes, poems, records and memories to piece together this fragmented portrayal of his family's past, his father's destructive alcoholism and the colourful stories and secrets of ancestors both disgraced and adored throughout centuries of Sri Lankan society. In an exotic, evocative portrait of the heat, wildlife, sounds and silences of the Sri Lankan landscape, Ondaatje combines vivid recreations of a privileged, eccentric older generation with a deeply personal reconciliatory journey in which he explores his own ghosts, and how his family's extraordinary history continues to influence his life.

The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

The Conversations Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/10/2008

During the filming of his celebrated novel THE ENGLISH PATIENT, Michael Ondaatje became increasingly fascinated as he watched the veteran editor Walter Murch at work. THE CONVERSATIONS, which grew out of discussions between the two men, is about the craft of filmmaking and deals with every aspect of film, from the first stage of script writing to the final stage of the sound mix. Walter Murch emerged during the 1960s at the centre of a renaissance of American filmmakers which included the directors Francis Coppola, George Lucas and Fred Zinneman. He worked on a whole raft of great films including the three GODFATHER films, JULIA, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, APOCALYPSE NOW, THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING and many others. Articulate, intellectual, humorous and passionate about his craft and its devices, Murch brings his vast experience and penetrating insights to bear as he explains how films are made, how they work, how they go wrong and how they can be saved. His experience on APOCALYPSE NOW - both originally and more recently when the film was completely re-cut - and his work with Anthony Minghella on THE ENGLISH PATIENT provide illuminating highlights.

Divisadero

Divisadero

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2008

It is the 1970s in Northern California. A farmer and his teenage daughters, Anna and Claire, work the land with the help of Coop, the enigmatic young man who lives with them. Theirs' is a makeshift family, until they are riven by an incident of violence - of both hand and heart - that 'sets fire to the rest of their lives'. This is a story of possession and loss, about the often discordant demands of family, love, and memory. Written in the sensuous prose for which Michael Ondaatje's fiction is celebrated, Divisadero is the work of a master story-teller.

Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 04/12/2007

With his first novel since the internationally acclaimed The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje gives us a work displaying all the richness of imagery and language and the piercing emotional truth that we have come to know as the hallmarks of his writing.The time is our own time. The place is Sri Lanka, the island nation formerly known as Ceylon, off the southern tip of India, a country steeped in centuries of cultural achievement and tradition--and forced into the late twentieth 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, about family, about identity, about the unknown enemy, about the quest to unlock the hidden past--all propelled by a riveting mystery.Unfolding against the deeply evocative background of Sri Lanka's landscape and ancient civilization, Anil's Ghost is a literary spellbinder--the most powerful novel we have yet had from Michael Ondaatje.From the Hardcover edition.

Divisadero

Divisadero

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 29/05/2007

Northern California, 1970s. A father and his teenage daughters, Anna and Claire, work their farm with the help of Coop, an enigmatic young man who makes his home with them. Theirs is a makeshift family, until it is riven by an incident of violence that sets fire to the rest of their lives.DIVISADERO takes us from the city of San Francisco to the raucous backrooms of Nevadas casinos and eventually to the landscape of south-central France. As the narrative moves back and forth in time and place, we discover each of the characters managing to find some foothold in a present rough-hewn from the past. Breathtakingly evoked and with unforgettable characters, DIVISADERO is a multilayered novel about passion, loss, and the unshakable past, about the often discordant demands of family, love, and memory. It is Michael Ondaatjes most intimate and beautiful novel to date.

English Patient

English Patient

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: eBook Release Date: 29/05/2007

With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal,and rescue illuminates this book like flashes of heat lightening.From the Hardcover edition.

Coming through Slaughter

Coming through Slaughter

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2004

Based on the life of cornet player Buddy Bolden, one of the legendary jazz pioneers of turn-of-the-twentieth-century New Orleans, Coming Through Slaughter is an extraordinary recreation of a remarkable musical life and a tragic conclusion. Through a collage of memoirs, interviews, imaginary conversations and monologues, Ondaatje builds a picture of a man who would work by day at a barber shop and by night unleash his talent to wild audiences who had never experienced such playing. But Buddy was also playing the field with two women, and inside his head was a ticking time-bomb which he was unable to stop.

Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian

Faber Book of Contemporary Canadian

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/02/1994

Rat Jelly and Other Poems, 1963-78

Rat Jelly and Other Poems, 1963-78

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/1980

Coming Through Slaughter

Coming Through Slaughter

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/01/1979

Running in the Family

Running in the Family

Author: Michael Ondaatje Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/1920

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