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In the Skin of a Lion

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.

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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...
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Praise for In the Skin of a Lion

"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