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76 Great Michael Ondaatje Quotes To Learn From

Famous As: Canada's Most Renowned Living Authors
Born On: 1943
Born In: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Age: 80 Years
Philip Michael Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian filmmaker, editor, novelist and poet. After completing his education in Canada, he became an English teacher at University of West Ontario and later on at York University but it was as a writer that he became famous. Ondaatje is a multi-talented writer and has written several poetry collections; some of the noted ones among which are ‘The Daily Monsters’, ‘The Cinnamon Peeler’, ‘The Story’, ‘Secular Love’ and ‘Rat Jelly’ among many others. On the other hand, he is an extremely talented novelist as well. One of his most famous works as a novelist is ‘The English Patient’, which went on to win the ‘Booker Prize’ and later on was turned into an Academy Award winning movie. Other notable novels by him include ‘Coming Through Slaughter’, ‘The Cat’s Table’ and ‘Anil’s Ghost’ among others. Ondaatje is one of the leading intellectuals of the world and we bring to you a treasure trove of quotes that have been excerpted from his novels, books, poems and writings. Read on to explore a compilation of some of the best known quotes by Michael Ondaatje, covering various aspects of life.
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She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.

She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.

Michael Ondaatje
We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie.

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

Michael Ondaatje
All I ever wanted was a world without maps.

All I ever wanted was a world without maps.

Michael Ondaatje
...the heart is an organ of fire.

...the heart is an organ of fire.

Michael Ondaatje
From this point on, she whispered, we will either find or lose our souls.

From this point on, she whispered, we will either find or lose our souls.

Michael Ondaatje
Her hand touched me at the wrist.

Her hand touched me at the wrist. "If I gave you my life, you would drop it. Wouldn't you?" I didn't say anything.

Michael Ondaatje
She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he understood her better, when she was the product of her parents. What she was now was what she herself had decided to become.

She had grown older. And he loved her more now than he had loved her when he understood her better, when she was the product of her parents. What she was now was what she herself had decided to become.

Michael Ondaatje
I have spent weeks in the desert, forgetting to look at the moon, he says, as a married man may spend days never looking into the face of his wife. These are not sins of omission but signs of pre-occuopation.

I have spent weeks in the desert, forgetting to look at the moon, he says, as a married man may spend days never looking into the face of his wife. These are not sins of omission but signs of pre-occuopation.

Michael Ondaatje
I'll be looking at the moon, 
but I'll be seeing you.

I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.

Michael Ondaatje
This last night we tear into each other, as if to wound, as if to find the key to everything before morning.

This last night we tear into each other, as if to wound, as if to find the key to everything before morning.

Michael Ondaatje
...sometimes we enter art to hide within it. It is where we can go to save ourselves, where a third-person voice protects us.

...sometimes we enter art to hide within it. It is where we can go to save ourselves, where a third-person voice protects us.

Michael Ondaatje
Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again

Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again

Michael Ondaatje
He knows that the only way he can accept losing her is if he can continue to hold her or be held by her. If they can somehow nurse each other out of this. Not with a wall.

He knows that the only way he can accept losing her is if he can continue to hold her or be held by her. If they can somehow nurse each other out of this. Not with a wall.

Michael Ondaatje
Don’t we forgive everything of a lover? We forgive selfishness, desire, guile. As long as we are the motive for it.

Don’t we forgive everything of a lover? We forgive selfishness, desire, guile. As long as we are the motive for it.

Michael Ondaatje
He has been disassembled by her. And if she has brought him to this, what has he brought her to?

He has been disassembled by her. And if she has brought him to this, what has he brought her to?

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.

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
You built your walls too, she tells him. So I have my wall. She says it glittering in a beauty he cannot stand. She with her beautiful clothes with her pale face that laughs at everyone who smiles at her...

You built your walls too, she tells him. So I have my wall. She says it glittering in a beauty he cannot stand. She with her beautiful clothes with her pale face that laughs at everyone who smiles at her...

Michael Ondaatje
For the first forty days a child
is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths, 
a hundred small lessons 
and then the past is erased.

For the first forty days a child is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths, a hundred small lessons and then the past is erased.

Michael Ondaatje
She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.

She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.

Michael Ondaatje
A novel is a mirror walking down a road

A novel is a mirror walking down a road

Michael Ondaatje
Everyone has to scratch on walls somewhere or they go crazy

Everyone has to scratch on walls somewhere or they go crazy

Michael Ondaatje
Could you fall in love with her if she wasn't smarter than you? I mean, she may not be smarter than you. But isn't it important for you to think she is smarter than you in order to fall in love? Think now.

Could you fall in love with her if she wasn't smarter than you? I mean, she may not be smarter than you. But isn't it important for you to think she is smarter than you in order to fall in love? Think now.

Michael Ondaatje
What is interesting and important happens mostly in secret, in places where there is no power.

What is interesting and important happens mostly in secret, in places where there is no power.

Michael Ondaatje
How does this happen? To fall in love and be disassembled.

How does this happen? To fall in love and be disassembled.

Michael Ondaatje
The joyful will stoop with sorrow, and when you have gone to the earth I will let my hair grow long for your sake, I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion

The joyful will stoop with sorrow, and when you have gone to the earth I will let my hair grow long for your sake, I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion

Michael Ondaatje
The trouble with all of us is we are where we shouldn't be.

The trouble with all of us is we are where we shouldn't be.

Michael Ondaatje
For echo is the soul of the voice exciting itself in hollow places.

For echo is the soul of the voice exciting itself in hollow places.

Michael Ondaatje
I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear....

I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear....

Michael Ondaatje
Do you understand the sadness of geography?

Do you understand the sadness of geography?

Michael Ondaatje
Death means you are in the third person.

Death means you are in the third person.

Michael Ondaatje