Karin and the Lion

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Alice had once described a play to him in which several actresses shared the role of the heroine. After half an hour the powerful matriarch removed her large coat from which animal pelts dangled and she passed it, along with her strength, to one of the minor characters. In this way even a silent daughter could put on the cloak and be able to break through her chrysalis into language. Each person had their moment when they assumed the skins of wild animals, when they took responsibility for the story.

-Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion, p.157.

* * *

In the Skin of a Lion has to be one of the best novels I've read in quite a while. It conforms to its epigraph that "never again will a single story be told as though it were the only one" and hands the lion's skin to multiple stories and romances that are powerful because they are fragmentary and random. You have to read this novel, it is poetry in its truest sense: it both condenses and expands language.

And you might also be interested in this sweet little project I've stumbled upon on flickr. I love the idea of somebody recording their experiences with books through both reviews and images. It's sort of like a million little stories in one project. Thank you for letting me feature you Karin.

I'm sorry I've been a bit absent from your blogs lately, I'm currently drowning under workload consisting of writing lectures and marking research essays. But I will emerge soon.

Images from left to right: The Great Gatsby, North and South.


Michael said...

my favourite: "let me now re-emphasize the extreme looseness of the structure of things."

gracia said...

Ah, yes, I must revisit that book... thank you.

Sundari said...

Oh how interesting. I love that books are never out of fashion. Hope you are coping with all the work.

danica said...

karin's project is fantastic! it's nice to see someone turning reading into an art in and of itself :)

i'm a big ondaatje fan but i haven't read in the skin of the lion - will have to check it out.

Esti said...

Haven't heard of that book. I'd better look it up. Those portraits are beautiful.

Mary-Laure said...

Really cool project, I must find out more...

Just back from NYC, where I found out about Maira Kalman's new line for MAC makeup - it made me think of you, as I know you love her! See it on my blog.

Hila said...

Michael: mine is, "I used to be a searcher. I can work dynamite."

I heard a silent "boom!" then :)

Gracia: revisiting books is one of my favourite things to do :)

Sundari: thanks, that's sweet of you to say.

Danica: I think you'll like In the Skin of a Lion.

Esti: they are beautiful aren't they?

Mary-Laure: oooh, I'm off to visit your blog!

Fine Little Day said...

Beautiful portraits. The book sounds intresting.

Des said...

That project is impressive and I imagine that it must be very time consuming.

Hila said...

It is a very beautiful book Fine Little Day.

Des: yes, very time-consuming indeed!