In the Skin of the Lion: A Tragic Love Story…Well I Think..?

by soniabertelli

The book, In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje is a tragic love story set in the 1900’s. Ondaatje has written this book as if it is three different books put into one. It jumps from one story to another and focuses on an entirely different subject than the previous part. Even though it was a challenge read, the vivid imagery throughout the book makes this book somewhat interesting.

The setting of In the Skin of the Lion was vivid and strong. Each setting in the three parts was diverse and distinctly unique in their own way. The strongest imagery for me was when Patrick was in the garden. It seemed like I was there, I could see the luminous flowers and you could almost smell them. The setting throughout the book was vast, from a bridge to a garden or a tunnel to a leather factory. It made you wonder what Ondaatje would throw at you next. I found that Patrick went through changes each time you would see him at another setting. He would be older and wiser or depressed and in love. His character changes throughout the book and through the different settings.

The book was in all very intriguing, but my favourite part of the book was part three, Maritime Theatre. I found this part my favourite because it put all the little pieces together to complete the book. Finding out that Patrick was in prison and realizing that he made friends with Caravaggio and their plan on revenge. I realized how everything and everyone was connected. I found that this concluding chapter made the plot clear and it actually made sense.

After reading In the Skin of the Lion I was confused with the whole plot. I was getting mixed up with all the characters and the settings. After a while I thought about the book and I came to more of an understanding. The book is about Patrick Lewis and what his journey is in life, the people he meets and the obstacles he has to overcome. The two women he falls madly in love with and the daughter he raises that isn’t his own. The three exceptionally different parts in the novel was a different part in Patrick’s life and the different people he meets through his life.

Although this novel had a lot of hype, it didn’t particularly move me. I didn’t find it appealing to me as it did to others. I found that the book had a lot of vivid imagery but the storyline confused me. The plot jumped all over the place it would sidetrack to a dream sequence or to a completely different train of thought. I don’t think I would read this book again in the future, once is good enough for me. I would recommend this book to people who have the patience to read this book in its entirety.



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