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Summary

Tess welds metal. Bibi molds flesh. Together, they make art that moves, dances, burns, and bleeds, and the Surgeons of the Demolition become the hottest ticket in town. But Bibi wants more, always more, no matter who gets hurt. And Tess needs to burn, no matter what.

Thirty years ago, "Skin" changed the landscape of dark fiction forever. And now the girls are back in town.

©2013 Kathe Koja (P)2019 David N. Wilson

Critic reviews

"A dark and frightening work by a major talent whose prose reads like a collaboration between Clive Barker and William S. Burroughs. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)

"Humorless novel about art punks in an unnamed present-day city...the novel, like the art of the characters it portrays, is a sustained exercise in style over substance." (Publishers Weekly

"The language Koja employs is fresh and astonishing, harsh yet beautiful." (Washington Post Book World)

What listeners say about Skin

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Spooky Mike
  • Spooky Mike
  • 21-08-19

...It is Your Flesh We Want To Experience...

The story reads like someone who has ADHD took drugs and wrote it. The style is like something I have never come across and it takes a bit to get used to. I liked the haptic analogous comparisons for descriptions that are peppered throughout each paragraph. It felt like a story wrapped around a lot of incomplete sentences that only exist to modify the narrative. I tend to agree with publisher’s weekly in that this was an exercise in style over substance. While I think the style was perfectly fitting for the substance that was provided, I would have liked a little bit more from it. The two main characters, Bibi and Tess, remind me of Julianne Moore’s interruption of Carolee Schneemann with her character of Maude in The Big Lebowski. Even their sycophants reminded me of Maude’s groupies. Bibi and Tess are a very sexually frustrated couple as their relationship is quite rocky. Their frustrations shape the novel as well as their art. The art, which is a big part of the story, is the part that interested me the most. Not necessarily the art itself, but the lifestyle of the artists. It reminded me of the underground dark music venues where everyone dressed up like they were in a Marilyn Manson video and put on a show even though they weren’t the main event. The gothic nature of the art and their daily lives was written exactly as I think of that genre and life. Suzanne T. Fortin did a great job narrating the book. I think she did a great job with the style of the book and her voice was perfect for the characters. She definitely made the book a lot easier to listen to as I don’t think my internal voice could have kept up with the style. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for timj26
  • timj26
  • 20-07-19

Good story and narration

A strange love story between a metal sculptor and a performance artist who has an unhealthy obsession with body modification Suzanne does a great job narrating and has a very pleasant voice Different from the horror I usually read I’m glad I got to check this one out I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brian M
  • Brian M
  • 16-08-19

Good People = Horror Story

This story is definitely horror, but falls under the umbrella of people being the bringers and originators of the horror. And in a situation like that the fact that the characters were fleshed out as far as they were significantly strengthened the narrative. Body modification is something that we all have our internal opinions and biases on, but if you take something too far it's a problem and that definitely occurs. Things start out with relatively simple metal work and semi-extreme masochistic actions but eventually one character takes things way too far. That's another bonus is that while everyone involved is doing things that you or I might find iffy, there's not really any "evil" just broken people pushing past the norms to find what they want. This was really enjoyable, and well written and narrated. I received the review code for this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this honest review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom Whitaker
  • Tom Whitaker
  • 23-05-20

Tough to get through

I wanted to like this. The staccato writing style was a bold choice. Almost poetic at times. But really hard to listen to. The characters were just so self destructive that I was constantly questioning why they were making the choices they did. I was anxious for the book to be over so I didn’t have to spend any more time with them. I also didn’t like the complete vilification of the body modification community. I am not part of that community but I know people who are and just because they are involved in it doesn’t automatically make them sick.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Eddie Mittelstedt
  • Eddie Mittelstedt
  • 29-10-19

Couldn't stay focused on it

I knew going in that the style of writing was different, but I thought I would be able to get into it based on the subject. I just really couldn't. The narrator delivered flat, but based on the material she had to work with I'm not sure if that was a style decision. Either way, it wasn't for me, sorry

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lunatikchik
  • Lunatikchik
  • 07-10-19

not my cuppa tea

this was an ok story line, not really my cuppa tea though. I thought it was in the horror genre but it was just emotionally unstable, arent we all, artists. I did like the narrator and that's always a bonus. I received a free audio copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark Mackey
  • Mark Mackey
  • 12-08-19

Skin Review

For the most part, I liked Skin. It's different than anything read or listened to ever before, still worth the time, and four stars for performance and story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bill
  • Bill
  • 07-08-19

Since the soul in me is dead, better save the skin

The pursuit of the mastery of motion in metal. Guerilla performance art and metal sculpture meets body horror in an interesting and disturbing narrative. This one took a while to click for me. Not sure if it was the writing style or the narration, but when it finally gelled, I really enjoyed it. I even enjoyed the narrative format after a while. “Since the soul in me is dead, better save the skin.”

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Barks Books
  • Barks Books
  • 05-08-19

Body Horror at its finest!

I originally read Skin when it was first released in 1993 by Dell Abyss back when they had their horror line. I remember stalking my local bookstores for their titles and now those bookstores are long gone. I miss those days. Because my memory is poo and it was over 20 years ago (OMG!), I remembered none of the little details and only had vague memories of it disturbing me in the best way. I’m so glad I had the chance to revisit it again on audio and I’m thrilled that it held up to my memories and I could love it all over again. This book is something special and even now, so many years later, it managed to disturb and entrance me. Tess is a welder who sculpts amazingly eerie pieces out of scraps of metal. Bibi is a performance artist into body modification who wants Tess to become a part of her group when she spots her work. Tess melds metal into moving pieces that fit into Bibi’s vision of the dark and bloody show she wants to create. The show becomes a huge underground hit melding flesh and pain awash in blood but the show is only the beginning step in this horrifying body horror tale. Skin is about taking things to the extreme, yes, but also so much more. Bibi is all sharp angles and metal and torn and scarred skin and she has an intoxicating effect on Tess and all of those around her -intoxicating to the point of obsession and blind worship. Skin is about love and sex and friendship and toxic relationships but mostly it is about obsession and all of its nasty little tentacles and what happens when one takes things too far. It is an experience. The prose is different and unlike anyone else I’ve read in all of these in-between years. It’s descriptive and to the point without being overly wordy. A scene is clearly and thoroughly set within a few words or a sentence. It’s a little stream of consciousness at times but never in a mind-numbing way. It’s amazing and it may take you a moment to adjust and it is SO hard to describe so I’ll just give you the opening lines. “Dust. Above a party store, LIQUOR, LOTTO, keno machines fed by the poorest of the poor with coins rattled black by pocket tumbling, machine sounds nervous as a nervous cough. Grit-rimmed eyes, grit beneath her nails like powdered bone, fresh solder burn on her inner wrist a party-red, still too sore even to bandage. Dirt like sugar between her teeth.” Dirt like sugar between her teeth. I LOVE that. It evokes images in such a unique way that plunged me right into its dark, moody world. This isn’t a book you can skim (nor would you want to). You have to pay attention because the pace is fast. I usually speed up my audios but this is one where you won’t want to do that. Narrator Suzanne Fortin does a great job with the tricky prose. She emotes when needed, her cadence and tone fit the story and she never lost my attention. I have no complaints about anything. It’s a miracle, haha. This is body horror so be ready for that. It is gory and disturbing but it’s all written in a way that doesn’t smack you over the head with it. That doesn’t mean it won’t make you cringe. Honestly, I think it’s more unsettling for just that reason. I don’t know how Koja managed this but she did it amazingly well.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jaime
  • jaime
  • 25-07-19

Mixed feelings on this one.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. I really have mixed feelings on this one. Taking into consideration that the written book was published in 1993, the material it covers would have been very edgy, shocking and alot of taboo topics still at that time. With the exposure that we have today and the things that are much more normal it is much less shocking in many ways. Disturbing, still on many levels, but the shock factor is very much numbed. The flow of this is very choppy. It was like a very long run on sentence. The story was hard to follow at times and switched topics without pause or resolution to the situation at hand. I was not a fan of the style of writing. The narrator did a good with the story. Emotion appropriate, pleasant to listen to. I will have to give three stars. Was an interesting story, though not as shocking as I expected. I am not a fan of the style of writing at all.