Postmodernist Elements in City of Glass and in the Skin of a Lion

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City of Glass by Paul Auster and In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje are two completely different novels that have certain features in common. Both novels are postmodernist fiction and they both evolve around a big city with a main character that is in search of his identity.
Quinn, the main character in City of Glass, is an author who takes on different identities while he at the same time goes on a quest for his own identity. This is a postmodernist element which has to do with the postmodernist view of people, i.e. that people and cities are a construction made by humans (Sjöstrand). The city itself plays an important part in the story, if not the most important part. The city of New York is portrayed as a protagonist in the novel. Quinn walks through the city as if it is a big maze and while walking he becomes one with the city. His journey in New York further strengthens the fact that Quinn is in search of his own identity. Throughout the story the reader gets the feeling that it is the city that inhabits the character, not the opposite. In the novel In the Skin of a Lion the story evolves around the city of Toronto. Toronto is not a protagonist in the same way that New York is in City of Glass, but the city is very important to the story. The main character Patrick who has no purpose with his life seeks his home in the big city and this is also where he finds his identity, true self and love.
In the Skin of a Lion is a story that is told as if there are several different stories within the one story. The centre of the story is Patrick and his life but his life is not told in a linear way. The narrator jumps between new scenes where new characters are introduced. This can be quite confusing at times. The story is full of discordance and fragmentation and for the reader it is hard to see how all these different stories will come together. However, in the end most of the characters in the different chapters are pulled together and we also find out that



Cited: Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy. London: faber and faber, 2004. Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of a Lion. London: Picador, 1998. ”Post modernism in Literature” University College Utrecht . 19 Feb. 2008. http://www.ucu.uu.nl/hum331.phtml Sjöstrand, Jonas. Upplösning i staden. C-essay. 2005. 20 Feb.2008. www.diva-portal.org/diva/getDocument?urn_nbn_se_sh_diva-523-1__fulltext.pdf Nikolic, Dragana. Paul Auster 's Postmodernist Fiction. 20 Feb. 2008 http://www.bluecricket.com/auster/articles/aristotle.html

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