In the Skin of a Lion

Michael Ondaatje

In the Skin of a Lion

Part love story, part engaging mystery, In the Skin of a Lion has come to define the city of Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s. Michael Ondaatje's stirring account of those who envisioned a better city, and the immigrants who physically built it, is a powerful saga of privilege, passion and back-breaking toil -- and a dream that engenders both triumph and tragedy.

In the Skin of a Lion won Canada Reads 2002, when it was defended by Steven Page. It was also a finalist for the 1987 Governor General's Award for fiction.


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.


From In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje ©1987. Published by Vintage Canada.

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Michael Ondaatje on In the Skin of a Lion:

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