The Lion in the Room Next Door by Merilyn Simonds

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A debut collection that follows one woman's journey from child to adult, through spectacular and enchanting landscapes, and through the darker, more mysterious terrain of the human heart.

As I turn, a man passes. Beside him walks a lion. Her fur is smooth, the color of deserts or sun-scorched plains. Though her paws against the carpet make no sound, I feel each tread, a tingling through the soles of my shoes. Her eyes, when she looks at me, are soft with secrets.

He presses the button for the elevator. The lion swings her tail and bends her neck to gaze back at me standing fixed by my own closed door. Then the brass gate folds open, and the man and the lion disappear. I stand alone in the long blue hall. A faint scent of feline. A memory of topaz eyes.

Lush prose and magical realism unite eleven stories of one woman's life in The Lion in the Room Next Door. A child embraces magic in a Brazilian hotel corridor and watches an angel fall from a white-hot sky. A young woman in Calgary finds her mate by the light of a candle of a particular shade of blue. A wife slips the bonds of her marriage on a beach in Mexico. A mother travels deep into a Guatemalan jungle with her adolescent son to unravel the mysteries of the Maya. In a desert canyon on the island of Kauai, a woman in middle age discovers just how much she is willing to risk.

Time and place coalesce in episodes of a life filled with danger, love, and wonder. Tantalizing and affecting, The Lion in the Room Next Door is a work of extraordinary imagination and beauty.

About Merilyn Simonds

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Merilyn Simonds was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1949 and grew up in Brazil. Educated at the University of Western Ontario, she has worked as a freelance writer, magazine editor and, since 1991, has devoted herself full-time to writing. Simonds has published 10 books and numerous magazine articles on subjects such as the environment, games, and war. She has amassed a number of writing awards including the Canadian Science Writers' Award for magazine journalism in 1990, and the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction, shortlisted, for The Convict Lover: A True Story, in 1996. One of her best-known books is The (New) Games Treasury, which is an update of the 1993 edition in which she outlines the strategies, rules, and traditions of more than 300 board, piece, mind, and outdoor games, ranging from the familiar to the exotic. Merilyn Simonds resides in Kingston, Ontario with writer Wayne Grady. She is a regular on the Canadian Broadcasting Company's radio show "Basic Black.
Published February 7, 2000 by Putnam Adult. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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trips to Mexico and Hawaii summon up an understanding of the blessings and curses of continuity, conferred by viewing the ruins of an ancient Mayan city and seeing'in the specters of carnivorous tropical birds'disturbing corollaries to “the image that came to mind when I thought of myself: indist...

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Publishers Weekly

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Keenly observed, the stories that make up Simonds's second book (after the nonfiction The Convict Lover) chart the course of one woman's life, from her earliest apprehension of sex to her midlife intimations of mortality.

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