Monday, September 17, 2007

Anne Enright Rereading In the Skin of a Lion

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.

4 comments:

Andi said...

I haven't read In the Skin of a Lion yet, but I recently fell in booklust with Ondaatje, so I shall hop right on it! Or at least add it to the queue of books that want my attention. :)

Dark Orpheus said...

Andi It was the English Patient that made me a fan. I thought I would be able to read Running in the Family this year, but now Anne Enright has just convinced me to add Skin of a Lion to the list.

jean pierre said...

like andi (i assume), i've only read "the english patient", which i loved! this has reminded me about "the skin of the lion" again...

Dark Orpheus said...

Jean Pierre I loved The English Patient too -- novel and film. It's one of those really great adaptation where film and book inform each other, the way the director took lines from the lyrical book and expanded on them.