Quotes of Michael Ondaatje

“ We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ I believe this. When we meet those we fall in love with, there is an aspect of our spirit that is historian, a bit of a pedant who reminisces or remembers a meeting when the other has passed by innocently…but all parts of the body must be ready for the other, all atoms must jump in one direction for desire to occur. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ I thought I was going to die. I wanted to die. And I thought if I was going to die I would die with you. Someone like you, young as I am, I saw so many dying near me in the last year. I didn’t feel scared. I certainly wasn’t brave just now. I thought to myself, We have this villa this grass, we should have lain down together, you in my arms, before we died. I wanted to touch that bone at your neck, collarbone, it’s like a small hard wing under your skin. I wanted to place my fingers against it. I’ve always liked flesh the colour of rivers and rocks or like the brown eye of a Susan, do you know what that flower is? Have you seen them? I am so tired, Kip, I want to sleep. I want to sleep under this tree, put my eye against your collarbone I just want to close my eyes without thinking of others, want to find the crook of a tree and climb into it and sleep. What a careful mind! To know which wire to cut. How did you know? You kept saying I don’t know I don’t know, but you did. Right? Don’t shake, you have to be a still bed for me, let me curl up as if you were a good grandfather I could hug, I love the word ‘curl,’ such a slow word, you can’t rush it... ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ I think you are inhuman. If I leave you, who will you go to? Would you find another lover? I said nothing. Deny it,damn you! ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ Men had always been the reciters of poetry in the desert. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ A blind lover, don't know what I love till I write it out ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ This was the time in her life that she fell upon books as the only door out of her cell. They became half her world. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ This was the time in her life that she fell upon books as the only door out of her cell. They became half her world. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ Read him slowly, dear girl, you must read Kipling slowly. Watch carefully where the commas fall so you can discover the natural pauses. He is a writer who used pen and ink. He looked up from the page a lot, I believe, stared through his window and listened to birds, as most writers who are alone do. Some do not know the names of birds, though he did. Your eye is too quick and North American. Think about the speed of his pen. What an appalling, barnacled old first paragraph it is otherwise. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ Read him slowly, dear girl, you must read Kipling slowly. Watch carefully where the commas fall so you can discover the natural pauses. He is a writer who used pen and ink. He looked up from the page a lot, I believe, stared through his window and listened to birds, as most writers who are alone do. Some do not know the names of birds, though he did. Your eye is too quick and North American. Think about the speed of his pen. What an appalling, barnacled old first paragraph it is otherwise. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

“ To write about someone like myself would be very limiting. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ To write about someone like myself would be very limiting. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

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

- Michael Ondaatje

“ As a writer, one is busy with archaeology. ”

- Michael Ondaatje

“ 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. ”

- Michael Ondaatje
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3