Bristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance, this novel tests the boundary between history and myth. Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto in the s . Bristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance, this novel tests the boundary between history and myth. Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto in the. Anne Enright first read Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion as a creative writing student. Beautiful and highly contagious, it seems to do.

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And as I neared the end and realized where we were headed, I also realized I’d forgotten where we started, because in between — how we get from the beginning to the end — is a dazzling feast, and feat. But the power of this book resides in his characterization – ondaqtje come to be absolutely devoted to the individuals – and I choose that word deliberately – that populate this novel.

In the course of his adventures, Patrick’s life intersects with those of characters who reappear in Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning The English Patient. Probably one of the best novels I ever read, better even than “The English Patient”.

In the Skin of a Lion

Ondaatje spent many months xkin the archives of the City of Toronto and newspapers of the era. The structure of the book is sometimes described as “postmodern” – I don’t know why, it seems entirely natural and chronological to me.


Patrick rents an apartment in a Macedonian neighborhood.

I didn’t really engage with this book. Be patient with this book if the beginning seems a bit slow or meandering. If writing is being haunted by your own ghost, then In the Skin of a Lion is haunted by the visionaries and builders of the fiction that is the modern city.

Beside them a pickaxe and a lamp, their dirt-streaked faces pivoting to look towards the camera. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Aug 09, Will rated it it was amazing Shelves: Open Preview See a Problem? A Novel Michael Ondaatje Snippet view – Others have said they think the characters in this are so real as to make you utterly devoted to them. They do not stick out. Oxford University Press, The latter may be considered a prequel to the former.

Devi draws on Ondaatje’s use of converging narratives to uncover the vastly different experiences of immigrants in Canada, and symbolize the overarching issue of how their unofficial history is erased from the official histories. Jumping a milk trainhe makes his way north toward cottage country. And in between all of this, he gives us a sweet and sad story of immigrants, torn between destitution and the promise of the New World, between loves past and loves present, between rich and poor, that are vivid, precise, lived-in.

In the Skin of a Lion – Wikipedia

I would recommend reading In the Skin of a Lion first. Ondaatje makes us care for what part that these small people, those who build the cities with their ill remunerated labor, and lost their lives in the course, played in making this history. Patrick escapes to his hotel room and is visited by Clara, who dresses his wounds and makes love to him before returning to Small.


But that is for another week. This is a bad sign. I love the sense of awe and mystery, of being on the outside, of making discoveries. The chaos and tumble of events. On studying the bridge, Patrick learns about the nun that had fallen off, whose body was never found. But I am still drawn to the other lights, that come on for half an hour in the middle of the night, and then switch off. Though sparingly described, they seem more familiar than the characters so exhaustively cataloged in much pomo fiction.

The book ends with “‘Lights’ he said.

Nov 23, Maciek rated it really liked it Shelves: It seems that I have been richly rewarded.