Anonymous asked: I also like a line from this book which i got to know through you which is ' All I ever wanted was a world without maps".
That’s actually a line from Minghella’s adapted screenplay. The full quote, from the book (which appears at the end of the middle paragraph below), is one of my favorite passages:
It is important to die in holy places. That was one of the secrets of the desert…When I turned her around, her whole body was covered in bright pigment. Herbs and stones and light and the ash of acacia to make her eternal. The body pressed against sacred colour. Only the blue eye removed, made anonymous, a naked map where nothing is depicted, no signature of lake, no dark cluster of mountain, no lime-green fan where the Nile rivers enter the open palm of Alexandria, the edge of Africa.
And all the names of the tribes, the nomads of faith who walked in the monotone of the desert and saw brightness and faith and colour…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 my 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. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
I carried Katharine Clifton into the desert, where there is the communal book of moonlight. We were among the rumour of wells. In the palace of winds.
The whole book, like all of Ondaatje’s writing, is marked with really evocative passages like the above. His overall writing is quite poetic and sensual, but often eclipsed by a very dense historical analog that (to me, anyways) actually helps make his use of poetry all the more powerful.