Tuesday, 27 October 2015

In Praise of In the Skin of a Lion

If I was going to paint a house with my favourite colours, I'd need a wall for Michael Ondaatje's fab novel which I read dozens of times during my (unfinished) grad studies.

If you're read it, you'll remember scenes set here, the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in east Toronto.

Digression #1: Doris McCarthy's father--he's the one with whom Doris, when still a girl, walked the shore of lake Ontario beneath the Scarborough bluffs and said Some day I'll build a house up there (the house I'm working in these last few weeks)--her father, as I was saying, was a civil engineer who worked in Harris' department. 

Digression #2: Ondaatje's novel teaches us how to read and write a novel like that. The narrator of Skin tells us Trust me. There is order here--very faint, very human (I paraphrase). This idea has always felt important.

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