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Michael Ondaatje's Quotes

Michael Ondaatje profile photo

Born: 1943-09-12
Profession: Author
Nation: Canadian
Biography of Michael Ondaatje

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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.

Tags: History, Last, Moment

Truth, at the wrong time, can be dangerous.

Tags: Time, Truth, Wrong

A writer uses a pen instead of a scalpel or blow torch.

Tags: Blow, Pen, Writer

I don't have a plan for a story when I sit down to write. I would get quite bored carrying it out.

Tags: Bored, Story, Write

I see the poem or the novel ending with an open door.

Tags: Door, Novel, Open

It's why you create characters: so you can argue with yourself.

Tags: Create, Why, Yourself

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.

Tags: Human, Path, War

As a writer, one is busy with archaeology.

Tags: Busy, Writer

I don't see novels ending with any real sense of closure.

Tags: Ending, Real, Sense

I tend not to know what the plot is or the story is or even the theme. Those things come later, for me.

Tags: Later, Plot, Story

I'm a Canadian citizen. But I always want to feel at home in Sri Lanka. I'm a member of both countries.

Tags: Both, Countries, Home

In the book the relationship with Katharine and Almasy is sort of only in the patient's mind.

Tags: Book, Mind, Patient

It doubles your perception, to write from the point of view of someone you're not.

Tags: Point, Someone, Write

It's a responsibility of the writer to get the reader out of the story somehow.

Tags: Reader, Story, Writer

It's an odd state to be in, blowing the whistle on your home country.

Tags: Country, Home, State

Research can be a big clunker. It's difficult to know how you can make the historical light.

Tags: Big, Difficult, Light

Right now, I have no idea what I will write or if I will write again.

Tags: Again, Idea, Write

The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.

Tags: Past, Place, Safely

To write about someone like myself would be very limiting.

Tags: Limiting, Someone, Write

When you're writing, it's as if you're within a kind of closed world.

Tags: Closed, Within, Writing

You don't want to write your own opinion, you don't want to just represent yourself, but represent yourself through someone else.

Tags: Else, Someone, Yourself

You want to suggest something new, but at the same time, resolve the drama of the action in the novel.

Tags: Action, Drama, 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.

Tags: Everyone, Perfect, Time

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.

Tags: Book, Write, Writing

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.

Tags: Happen, Once, Story

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.

Tags: Human, Time, Trust

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