Review of In The Skin Of The Lion

by jaclyncoi

“In The Skin of A lion” is a love story set in the 1900’s written by Canadian author Michael Ondaatje who takes us specifically through the life of Patrick Lewis. Ondaatje separates this novel into three different parts where it can get very confusing to follow along. The author begins the novel with Patrick as a young boy envisioning his journey in life giving us the outline on how this book will unfold. Through out the three different books the author takes us through Patrick’s endurance with immigration, love, romance and misery with his surrounding characters.

This book uses visual imagery very well letting the readers imagine the setting in every detail. He does this exceptionally well when he explains the building of the “Bloor Street Viaduct” in book two. He describes the long dreary days and the painful tasks of the workers, including hanging over the bridge with a mere harness and rope. When book begins to build up the author jumps to another topic leaving the reader confused. As the reader reads more in to the book pieces begin to fit together and it is not until the very end that the puzzle pieces connect as a whole.

Ondaatje describes every characteristic to the fullest so we can visualize every character as they are meaning to be portrayed, from the beautiful Clara to the thief Caravaggio. I feel like I am intruding when the author describes Patrick and Clara’s romance because the setting is so realistic. Patrick’s relationships with the other characters evolve in to realistic life circumstances ensuring us that life does not always go as planned and some things may be hard to get.

It sometimes was hard to follow how Ondaatje wrote this book because with out any warning he would jump from one instance straight in to another leaving the reader feeling confused and lost. Although this book was exceptionally well written it is not for everyone. I only now realize how good this book was because I can look back and link all the events together. I was about ready to give up in the middle of the book because I found myself reading some paragraphs once or twice due to feeling lost and confused. I was with out a doubt satisfied by the end of the book. This book is best read in one sitting to make most sense of the story as a whole. This type of novel is for people who can be satisfied patient with out all the questions being answered right away.

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