In the Skin of a Lion by Ondaatje, Michael

In the Skin of a Lion

byOndaatje, Michael

Paperback | June 18, 1996

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In the Skin of a Lion is a love story and an irresistible mystery set in the turbulent, muscular new world of Toronto in the 20s and 30s. Michael Ondaatje entwines adventure, romance and history, real and invented, enmeshing us in the lives of the immigrants who built the city and those who dreamed it into being: the politically powerful, the anarchists, bridge builders and tunnellers, a vanished millionaire and his mistress, a rescued nun and a thief who leads a charmed life. This is a haunting tale of passion, privilege and biting physical labour, of men and women moved by compassion and driven by the power of dreams -- sometimes even to murder.

About The Author

Author of eleven books of poetry, four novels and a fictionalized memoir, Michael Ondaatje was born in 1943 in Colombo, capital of the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Of Tamil, Sinhalese and Dutch descent, he was the youngest of four children. He grew up during the halcyon days of colonial Ceylon on the Kutapitiya tea estate,...
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Details & Specs

Title:In the Skin of a LionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.02 × 5.2 × 0.68 inPublished:June 18, 1996Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0394281829

ISBN - 13:9780394281827

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Read from the Book

An April night in 1917. Harris and Pomphrey were on the bridge, in the dark wind. Pomphrey had turned west and was suddenly stilled. His hand reached out to touch Harris on the shoulder, a gesture he had never made before.-- Look!Walking on the bridge were five nuns.Past the Dominion Steel castings wind attacked the body directly. The nuns were walking past the first group of workers at the fire. The bus, Harris thought, must have dropped them off near Castle Frank and the nuns had, with some confusion at that hour, walked the wrong way in the darkness.They had passed the black car under the trees and talking cheerfully stepped past the barrier into a landscape they did not know existed -- onto a tentative carpet over the piers, among the night labourers. They saw the fire and the men. A few tried to wave them back. There was a mule attached to a wagon. The hiss and jump of machines made the ground under them lurch. A smell of creosote. One man was washing his face in a barrel of water.The nuns were moving towards a thirty-yard point on the bridge when the wind began to scatter them. They were thrown against the cement mixers and steam shovels, careering from side to side, in danger of going over the edge.Some of the men grabbed and enclosed them, pulling leather straps over their shoulders, but two were still loose. Harris and Pomphrey at the far end looked on helplessly as one nun was lifted up and flung against the compressors. She stood up shakily and then the wind jerked her sideways, scraping her along the concrete and right off the edge of the bridge. She disappeared into the night by the third abutment, into the long depth of air which held nothing, only sometimes a rivet or a dropped hammer during the day.Then there was no longer any fear on the bridge. The worst, the incredible had happened. A nun had fallen off the Prince Edward Viaduct before it was even finished. The men covered in wood shavings or granite dust held the women against them. And Commissioner Harris at the far end stared along the mad pathway. This was his first child and it had already become a murderer.

From Our Editors

They were anarchists, millionaires, construction workers and clergy. One helped build the Bloor Street Viaduct. Another, a thief, led a charmed life. Still another was rescued from certain death. They created Toronto and the city shaped them. Michael Ondaatje combines adventure and romance, history and murder in a masterful tale of the immigrant experience.

Editorial Reviews

"A triumph -- a powerful and revelatory accomplishment."--The Times Literary Supplement"Splendidly evocative and entertaining."--The Toronto Star"A brilliantly imaginative blend of history, lore, passion and poetry."--Russell Banks"What is most moving is the human connectedness of this book… so densly erotic, so subtly sensual, so intensely responsive."--Malahat Review"Ondaatje has written into the vivid life of fiction a part of the history of the building of Toronto as no official history would have conceived it and as no official history can now erase it."--Adele Wiseman"In the Skin of a Lion is an act of magic!"--Alberto Manguel"Beautiful … I urge you to read this book."--The New York Times