Concept

In the Skin of a Lion

Summary
In the Skin of a Lion is a novel by Canadian–Sri Lankan writer Michael Ondaatje. It was first published in 1987 by McClelland and Stewart. The novel fictionalizes the lives of the immigrants who played a large role in the building of the city of Toronto in the early 1900s, but whose contributions never became part of the city's official history. Ondaatje illuminates the investment of these settlers in Canada, through their labour, while they remain outsiders to mainstream society. In the Skin of a Lion is thus an exposé of the migrant condition: "It is a novel about the wearing and the removal of masks; the shedding of skin, the transformations and translations of identity." An important aspect of the novel is its depiction of Toronto in the 1930s. Ondaatje spent many months in the archives of the City of Toronto and newspapers of the era. Prominence is given to the construction of two Toronto landmarks, the Prince Edward Viaduct, commonly known as the Bloor Street Viaduct, and the R
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