I love Michael Ondaatje's writing. So how could I have missed Anne Enright's essay on re-reading In the Skin of a Lion?
It was rereading Berger's G that allowed me back into this book. I thought I might have found the trick of it - you can see how Berger uses the heroic present of the workers' struggle, and the eternal present of the erotic, to make the ideological feel somehow absolute. Once I found Berger in Ondaatje's work, I started finding him all over the place. He is the presiding genius of a kind of clear-eyed male fiction I never quite believe, being too untroubled and in charge of history - with its beautiful poverty and its beautiful sex and its beautiful deaths from cholera. I do believe Ondaatje, however, despite the way his characters fall so beautifully asleep, because he is not in thrall to his own talent. In the Skin of a Lion constantly feels for the edges of things. It is all about the unknown.
I believe her.