Happy Birthday, Michael Ondaatje, born 12 September 1943
- One of the things I do with my books is I write them and improvise when I’m actually writing that first draft and discovering what the plot is. But later on, I spend a lot of time rewriting, reshaping the book and underlining that architecture.
- A writer uses a pen instead of a scalpel or blow torch.
- It’s why you create characters: so you can argue with yourself.
- There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross.
- I don’t see novels ending with any real sense of closure.
- It doubles your perception, to write from the point of view of someone you’re not.
- As a writer, one is busy with archaeology.
- 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.
- I think precision in writing goes hand in hand with not trying to say everything. You try and say two-thirds, so the reader will involve himself or herself.
- I am completely exhausted by a book, and I have to take a major break and change my vocabulary.
Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet. He won the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into a film. He is married to novelist, Linda Spalding.
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