Running in the Family Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Running in the Family.
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Memory

Michael Ondaatje wrote Running in the Family as a memoir and composed it from material he collected during two return trips to Sri Lanka in 1978 and 1980. He was born there in 1943 and left when he was eleven. As a result, everything in the book is a memory of someone or another, and not just an immediate, short-term memory but memories from decades before.

Ondaatje often focuses on the wistfulness and magical quality of memory at many points throughout the book. He is forthright that the book is partly fictionalized and it must be, as Michael will occasionally write from perspectives that he has no access to, such as his father's. But he notes that in Sri Lanka, a well-told lie is better than a thousand truths.

The aim of the book is not to give an impartial record of what occurred but instead to paint or portrait or...

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This section contains 836 words
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Buy the Running in the Family Study Guide
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