Best known for his novel The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje wrote this 1982 memoir after returning to his native Ceylon. His experiences led to a "you can go home again" reflection on his family and country. "For the outsider, this memoir offers a poignant vision exotic in cultural particulars, familiar in intimate human feelings." Margaret Atwood calls it "[b]rightly coloured, sweet and painful, bloody-minded and otherworldly ... [it] achieves the status of legend." The New Yorker calls it "[e]loquent, oblique, witty, full of light and feeling .… Ondaatje’s knowledge of the fragility and luck of life is very clear. So, too, is the grace and originality of his prose."