In the Skin of a Lion review · 104


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In the Skin of a Lion review · 104 Â Bristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance this novel tests the boundary between history and myth Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto in the 1920s and earns his living searching for a vanished millionaire and tunneling beneath Lake Ontario In the course of his adventures Patrick's life intersects witBristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance this novel tests the boundary between history and myth Patrick Lewis arrives in. It’s never a good sign when the first thing you do after finishing a book is to go to its Wikipedia page and scrutinize the plot summary for some hint of what happenedFor some reason I always choose to read a complex or very “literary” type of novel on what turn out to be my busiest weeks When I started In the Skin of a Lion I was neck deep in my unit planning for my English instruction course I developed a unit for Grade 9s studying A Wizard of Earthsea Even my impressive ability to find time to read was put to the test and it didn’t help that Michael Ondaatje’s prose and narrative are both incredibly stylized and poetic I’m starting to develop a guilty conscience for not liking books like this because there is nothing wrong with being stylized or poetic so I can understand why Ondaatje’s writing appeals to some people But my mood and the timing were such that my heart just wasn’t invested in this book and that makes it very difficult for me to separate my apathy toward the act of reading it with any apathy I might feel as a result of the story itselfI just didn’t pay attention to what was going on in this book The narrative mostly follows one character Patrick Lewis son of an explosives expert It jumps sometimes to a few other characters such as Nicolas Temelcoff with all of these characters related to Patrick’s narrative in some way Ondaatje portrays the poor to abysmal uality of life of the lower class that laboured to construct some of Toronto’s greatest early twentieth century achievements in city infrastructure In the Skin of a Lion is a novel of blood sweat and tears of the immigrants who helped build one of the hubs of our nation It’s ambitious and in some sense I would agree that Ondaatje realizes his ambitionAlas I couldn’t uite stay along for the ride Ondaatje plays fast and loose with flashbacks and maybe this says something about my limitations as a reader but I prefer a straightforward internal chronology It would have helped if there were a single character to anchor me to the narrative but they all feel interchangeable even Patrick There is no protagonist because there is no conflict just the faceless shuffle against the background the ineuity of life Patrick seems to do things once in a while including some fairly risky actions with explosives but I was too disengaged to be able to speak intelligently about why he might have done thisThe back cover bills this as a love story A love story between whom Patrick and Clara Patrick and Alice People and Toronto There are times when it feels like one or all three of these but those times are difficult to distinguish from each other There is just an oppressive sense of bland sameness to every chapter of this novel such that even though I’m sure things happened it never felt like they were happening The present tense submerged the plot and did not let go until all its limbs had uite thrashing and finally went limp And I never uite understood Patrick’s motivation—why was he so interested in digging into everyone’s pastI am dissatisfied not with the book but with me In my review of Napier’s Bones I talk about letting a book down and now that sentiment has returned It’s not a case of a book failing to live up to its hype; rather I feel unable to judge effectively whether it did or didn’t do that When I dislike a book I want to be able to present cogent reasons why I hate feeling like one of those people who just completely missed the point of the exercise Yet the prospect of re reading this book when my mind is less taxed does not particularly excite meSuch is the ultimate refuge of subjectivity I suppose we readers are humans not book devouring robots I know I know hard to believe We have moods and phases and sometimes a perfect storm of time and tasks and not the right book combine to throw us off our groove I can neither recommend this book nor caution others against it It’s definitely beautiful in its own way and I can see why it has attracted acclaim But it is not universally accessible it demands a certain amount of stillness to channel Yann Martel for a moment that I couldn’t uite provide this time aroundI have another Ondaatje kicking around somewhere Maybe the second book will be easier than the first But that is for another week

In the Skin of a LionBristling with intelligence and shimmering with romance this novel tests the boundary between history and myth Patrick Lewis arrives in. It’s never a good sign when the first thing you do after finishing a book is to go to its Wikipedia page and scrutinize the plot summary for some hint of what happenedFor some reason I always choose to read a complex or very “literary” type of novel on what turn out to be my busiest weeks When I started In the Skin of a Lion I was neck deep in my unit planning for my English instruction course I developed a unit for Grade 9s studying A Wizard of Earthsea Even my impressive ability to find time to read was put to the test and it didn’t help that Michael Ondaatje’s prose and narrative are both incredibly stylized and poetic I’m starting to develop a guilty conscience for not liking books like this because there is nothing wrong with being stylized or poetic so I can understand why Ondaatje’s writing appeals to some people But my mood and the timing were such that my heart just wasn’t invested in this book and that makes it very difficult for me to separate my apathy toward the act of reading it with any apathy I might feel as a result of the story itselfI just didn’t pay attention to what was going on in this book The narrative mostly follows one character Patrick Lewis son of an explosives expert It jumps sometimes to a few other characters such as Nicolas Temelcoff with all of these characters related to Patrick’s narrative in some way Ondaatje portrays the poor to abysmal uality of life of the lower class that laboured to construct some of Toronto’s greatest early twentieth century achievements in city infrastructure In the Skin of a Lion is a novel of blood sweat and tears of the immigrants who helped build one of the hubs of our nation It’s ambitious and in some sense I would agree that Ondaatje realizes his ambitionAlas I couldn’t uite stay along for the ride Ondaatje plays fast and loose with flashbacks and maybe this says something about my limitations as a reader but I prefer a straightforward internal chronology It would have helped if there were a single character to anchor me to the narrative but they all feel interchangeable even Patrick There is no protagonist because there is no conflict just the faceless shuffle against the background the ineuity of life Patrick seems to do things once in a while including some fairly risky actions with explosives but I was too disengaged to be able to speak intelligently about why he might have done thisThe back cover bills this as a love story A love story between whom Patrick and Clara Patrick and Alice People and Toronto There are times when it feels like one or all three of these but those times are difficult to distinguish from each other There is just an oppressive sense of bland sameness to every chapter of this novel such that even though I’m sure things happened it never felt like they were happening The present tense submerged the plot and did not let go until all its limbs had uite thrashing and finally went limp And I never uite understood Patrick’s motivation—why was he so interested in digging into everyone’s pastI am dissatisfied not with the book but with me In my review of Napier’s Bones I talk about letting a book down and now that sentiment has returned It’s not a case of a book failing to live up to its hype; rather I feel unable to judge effectively whether it did or didn’t do that When I dislike a book I want to be able to present cogent reasons why I hate feeling like one of those people who just completely missed the point of the exercise Yet the prospect of re reading this book when my mind is less taxed does not particularly excite meSuch is the ultimate refuge of subjectivity I suppose we readers are humans not book devouring robots I know I know hard to believe We have moods and phases and sometimes a perfect storm of time and tasks and not the right book combine to throw us off our groove I can neither recommend this book nor caution others against it It’s definitely beautiful in its own way and I can see why it has attracted acclaim But it is not universally accessible it demands a certain amount of stillness to channel Yann Martel for a moment that I couldn’t uite provide this time aroundI have another Ondaatje kicking around somewhere Maybe the second book will be easier than the first But that is for another week

Read ß PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook É Michael Ondaatje

In the Skin of a Lion Ð Adventures Patrick's life intersects with those of characters who reappear in Ondaatje's Booker Prize winning The English Patient 256. A full five star endorsement for a novel that has a mesmeric hallucinatory uality Images as powerful and poignant as a dream narrative that slips and weaves and ducks between people places and time and an impressive sweep of invention that catches the breath Ondaatje uncovers the story of those whose labour created Toronto landmarks in the early twentieth century deftly knitting up truth and myth revealing the lives of those who were forgotten in the official version of history Actually The English Patient is one of the few books in my reading life that I never finished I don't think I ever really took note of the book until the film came out so it must have been 1996 when we had just moved back to Germany from Austria because I have a clear memory of trying to read it in bed on a mattress on the floor With moving and coping with all that entails I know I was only reading a few pages in bed at night before falling into a coma After three weeks of this where it seemed to me that nothing whatever had happened I gave up I was amazed at how political In the Skin of a Lion is I had Ondaatje down in my mind as a somewhat artsy poetic type that uses a lot of words to skirt the ineffable How wrong I was Read ß PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook É Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje É 4 review

Michael Ondaatje É 4 review Toronto in the 1920s and earns his living searching for a vanished millionaire and tunneling beneath Lake Ontario In the course of his. The writing the manner by which the author has woven fact into a fictional tale and the book’s central message explain why I like this book as much as I do We are given a story that is carefully planned and well executed Every detail is there for a purpose Even section titles have been carefully considered The “finished product” is very good We are told at the start that every novel should begin with the line “Trust me this will take time but there is order here very faint very human”Not every novel can successfully fulfill such a promise This one doesThe writing alone is worth four stars Ondaatje draws scenes that readers will not forget One that stands out for me are skaters on a creek in the dark of night each holding a sheaf of blazing cats’ tails before them These skaters we lean later to be Finnish immigrants Two women playfully and lovingly wrestling together is another scene I will not forget Sexual encounters are drawn with the brush of an artist The scenes are not only beautifully drawn but they also tie well into the tale They are both beautiful and importantThis is a book of historical fiction its purpose being to draw attention to immigrant labor in the Americas a group of people whose work should be applauded and given the recognition they merit Without them our cities would not be what they are today History often fails to give immigrants the merit they are due The novel looks at Toronto in the beginning of the 20th century the building of the Prince Edward Viaduct and the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant by immigrant labor with poor pay and working conditions Little or no concern is taken in regards to their living uarters The Prince Edward Viaduct is also known as the Bloor Viaduct Who were these men and women who built our cities What were their lives like It is this that is the central theme of the bookTrue facts are seamlessly woven into the fictional tale They do not stick out They are not excessive They do not smother the story We learn of RC Harris the bridge’s designer and commissioner of public works in Toronto at this time The viaduct was to be a double decked truss arched bridge carrying water electricity and traffic and linking eastern Toronto with the city center As readers we are there in the construction of the bridge alongside immigrant labor We learn of events that were in the news while the bridge was being built—the fall of a nun from the as yet incomplete bridge the disappearance of Ambrose Small a bigwig theater owner labor union meetings and the murder of labor union activists Ondaatje spent months studying the City of Toronto archives and newspapers He has taken the known and the unknown and woven the two into a fictional tale It is up to the reader to search the net to discover what has been stretched The story is so convincingly written that originally I thought that all was absolutely true The English Patient came out before In the Skin of a Lion The latter may be considered a preuel to the former I would recommend reading In the Skin of a Lion first In it we learn about the two characters Hana and Caravaggio Both turn up again in The English Patient I think I would have found them interesting had I known of their earlier experiencesThe audiobook is narrated by Tom McCamus I have given the narration performance four stars It is clear and easy to follow but different intonations are not used for different characters You must listen to the words for an indication of who is talking You cannot even hear if the person peaking is male or female; women and men sound the same This was of little importance to me but others may object Ondaatje draws a tale that has captivated me It does demand attention The reader follows different characters and there are time shifts but one’s efforts are rewarded This is a fine tale; one that I thoroughly enjoyed The writing is splendid Books I have read by Michael Ondaatje In the Skin of a Lion 4 starsThe English Patient 4 starsAnil's Ghost 4 starsRunning in the Family 3 starsDivisadero 3 sarsWarlight TBR