“Skin Folk” by Nalo Hopkinson
Publication Date: May 2008
Number of Pages: 272
The title “Skin Folk” comes from folkore. Throughout the Caribbean there are stories about people who aren’t what they seem. Skin gives these folk their human shape. Peel it off, and their true selves emerge. They take on the shapes of animals, of fantastical creatures. They may be dangerous, or just eldritch. And whatever burdens their skins had borne, once they remove them, they can fly.
I’ve been wanting to read something by Nalo Hopkinson ever since I read “Mojo: Conjure Stories” (see my review) a collection which she edited. She didn’t have a story among the collection so I wanted to read something written by her.
“Skin Folk” contains 15 short stories of varying lengths and I enjoyed all of them – even the ones I didn’t entirely understand. There were a couple I had trouble with due to them being a bit vague or open ended. Of course the theme of the book is how some people aren’t what they seem so the vagueness was necessary. Even when I wasn’t understanding what was happening I was enjoying trying to figure it out. Even when I didn’t fully understand what was happening, the stories were interesting enough that I wasn’t frustrated. I also liked that for each story the author included a brief paragraph telling either why she wrote the story or some background to the story.
As I said in my previous post this book actually fits all three of my current challenges: Diversity Rocks, GLBT Challenge – for the author rather than the contents of the book, and Carl’s RIP challenge – under horror, dark fantasy and supernatural. When I signed up for Carl’s challenge I said I was only going to read two books for it. Now that I’ve finished the two books (and it’s only September 12) I think I’ll try for two more.