A Puzzle to Nuzzle With

by capreviewroom

Michael Ondaatje’s “In The Skin Of A Lion”, is a book full of beautiful imagery, which that alone made this book fun for me to read. The narration of the story focuses a lot on the visual imagery, which sometimes allows the reader to stray away from the plot and just focus on the imagery. I feel that the reason for this, is because it allows us as readers to view the story as we do in life. We see ourselves as one in our own life story and we know all about our own story, but what about the details around us? What about the story that is going on around us? We are not alone in our life story. And that is what I think Ondaatje is trying to accomplish, which is to view this story the way you view life. The imagery that we follow in the book reveals a realistic view of the many details of life we overlook.

The opening of the story images a childhood memory. This seems to act as a foreshadow because the story that follows this opening does not seem to fit with it. However, this technique Ondaatje uses with the childhood memories, does fit with foreshadowing. It seems that the childhood memories are being used to foreshadow the themes of one’s life. Trying to anticipate the future of a character is difficult when dream images and memories distort fate. Ondaatje cleverly manipulates the current situations in the story with his use of imagery.

Although the story allows us to focus a lot on the imagery and what goes on around the characters in the book, the story does mainly focus on one character named Patrick Lewis. Ondaatje writes Patrick’s life using his random memories and experiences which eventually all come together in the end. These experiences allow Patrick to open up to the community and his past. The example of Patrick’s life shows that each persons life is not being lived on its own. Each persons life is given meaning by the people around them.

In The Skin of a Lion is a deep and complex read. You are able to see the growth and the story through Patrick, but the blurred experiences of his and imagery throws you off course. However, like a puzzle, you know the direction you want to go, and you know what to do with the pieces when you find which one fits with each other, but you don’t see each piece in order. Each image is random and out of order to you, until the end when it all comes together.


-Homer Concepcion


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