Gesturing Towards the Local: Intimate Histories in Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost

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Abstract

Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost is characterized by traumas: of distance, of the body, and of memory. The novel understands trauma as ultimately leading to dislocation, whether it be from a sense of identity, family or place, and it describes the resolution of this dislocation as taking place in a context of renewed intimacy with the local. This article examines how intimacy with the local is renewed through the application of the various gestures which Ondaatje posits as replacing the self-protecting, deflective gestures of the traumatized. In reconnecting the victim with a sense of the sacred in this way, the novel presents an archaeological focus that rejects a forensic approach in favour of a “dark trade” in intimate histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Volume41
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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