A Story That Breaks Traditional Boundaries – Jeannine Johnstone

by capreviewroom

In the Skin of a Lion, written by Canadian Michael Ondaatje, is a book about life in Toronto between the 1920’s and 30’s. Ondaatje brings in true events and people from Toronto’s history, giving the story a historical foundation to work off of.

The book starts off on a farm in a small town, Depot Creek, Ontario, looking into the life of a young boy, Patrick Lewis, and almost immediately proceeds to throw you directly into the lives of a couple of, fictional as well as real, characters including a millionaire who has disappeared, lovers, thieves, nuns, and the migrant workers that built the bridges and tunnels that we know of today in Toronto like the Bloor Street Bridge, and the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant. The stories of the lives of these people are brought together through the tumultuous life of Patrick Lewis.

In the Skin of a Lion tackles many ideas beautifully, love, passion, loss, anger, as well as many more. The borders of good and bad and right and wrong are tackled leaving the reader wondering who the hero of the story actually is.

As interesting and wonderful as this book is it has some slow points as well as some utterly confusing points which are, for the most part, slowly ironed out as the book proceeds. This book jumps back and forth between characters and plot lines, sometimes making the story confusing and somewhat hard to follow.

In general everything in the book, including the details of the characters lives, the lack of clear boundaries, and confusion between good and bad, lead this story to have a refreshingly realistic and human feel that breaks the rules of traditional love and adventure stories into a new and exciting type story that is certainly worth reading and will leave you wanting more.

 

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