It is the 1920s, and Patrick Lewis has arrived in the bustling city of Toronto, leaving behind his Canadian wilderness home. He immerses himself in the lives of the people who surround him, learning, from their stories, the history of the city itself. And he has his own adventures: searching for a missing millionaire, tunnelling beneath Lake ...
It is the 1920s, and Patrick Lewis has arrived in the bustling city of Toronto, leaving behind his Canadian wilderness home. He immerses himself in the lives of the people who surround him, learning, from their stories, the history of the city itself. And he has his own adventures: searching for a missing millionaire, tunnelling beneath Lake Ontario, falling in love. In the Skin of a Lion is Michael Ondaatje's sparkling predecessor to his Booker Prize-winning The English Patient. It is here that we encounter, for the first time, Hana the orphaned girl and Caravaggio the thief, among a large cast of characters who are all lovingly and intimately portrayed. It is an exquisite and musical novel, a romance that challenges the boundary between history and myth.
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Ondaatje has published poetry and his novels read and flow like poetry. The story is historically interesting as well as presenting authentic fictional characters. My fourth Ondaatje and I was not disappointed.
Publishers Weekly, 1988-09-02 A young man from the Canadian back country moves to Toronto and becomes involved with two actresses, experiencing love, despair and, eventually, compulsion to commit a violent act. ``A spellbinding writer, Ondaatje exhibits a poet's sensibility and care for the precise, illuminating word,'' praised PW . (November)
Publishers Weekly, 1987-07-31 A spellbinding writer, Ondaatje exhibits a poet's sensibility and care for the precise, illuminating word. The author of Coming Through Slaughter and The Collected Works of Billy the Kid again paints an impressionistic picture mixing real events and intersected fictional lives. We meet Patrick Lewis in his youth, living in the harsh but beautiful Canadian back country, with his father, a dynamiter of log jams. The action then segues to Toronto in the 1920s, where daredevil bridge builders, immigrants from many countries, are engaged in erecting an enormous span. A scene in which a young nun is swept off the unfinished bridge on a stormy night will make readers gasp; descriptions of the skill and agility of the bridge workers and the laborers who build a tunnel under Lake Ontario, going about their work in the yawning maw of danger, are also graphically stunning. When Patrick comes to Toronto, feeling himself an immigrant from the provinces, his life becomes entwined with those of actresses Clara Dickens and Alice Gull, with whom he experiences love, despair and, eventually, compulsion to commit a violent act. Ondaatje everywhere uses ``a spell of language'' to spin his brilliantly evoked tale. He writes, ``The best art can order the chaotic tumble of events'' and ``the first sentence of every novel should be: `Trust me, this will take time, but there is order here, very faint, very human.' '' Both statements aptly describe this beautiful work. (September 28) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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