(Nominated for the 1987 Governor General's Award) A prequel of sorts to his Man Booker Prize winner The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje's second novel follows Patrick Lewis as he leaves behind his Canadian wilderness home for the bustling city of Toronto. It is in many ways the story of the immigrants who contributed to the building of the city, and it is here, among a large cast of characters that includes the orphaned Hana and Caravaggio the thief.
"Ondaatje writes in curves, in time-lapses, a sort of verbal cinema whose narrative is unfaltering."—Times (London)
"A magical book. Michael Ondaatje defies the normal distinction between poet and novelist. His writing is consistently tuned to a visionary pitch."—Graham Swift