Book Review: Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

A review of Nalo Hopkinson’s short story collection from Open Road Media.

skin folkSkin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

  • File Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (January 27, 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Originally released in 2001, this book by Nalo Hopkinson is a collection of short stories. All of the stories relating to the differences revealed when we really look under a person’s skin.  And when a person looks beneath their own skin.

From a retelling of Red Riding Hood, to stories about women sailors who are just as capable as the men they work with, Hopkinson delves into the human condition, often with a Jamaican accent to the story.

Some of the stories are blatantly sexual, no doubt heated by the hot Jamaican sun and the hot sweaty bodies lying across both beach and mainland. Hopkinson takes Jamaican myth and turns it on its ear as she depicts legendary creatures and how they might interact, often to the dismay of less moral characters.

One overriding theme is how the characters of her stories disregard appearances and look for the truth, or at least more truth, underneath the skin of the people or creatures they meet. Also unlocked is the storyteller’s favorite: What you see may not be all you get. In one story, a young bride finds out her spouse is not what he seems to be as she releases the spirits of his prior wives back into their house. Revenge is a dish best served cold, certainly.

Hopkinson’s characters are vibrant and alive, full of anger and love and strong sexual energy. She does not duck the interactions between her characters nor delve into pornographic detail but there is little doubt where her stories are going and what will happen.

Overall these stories give a good taste of what Hopkinson tries to depict as a writer as well as showing her ability to take the commonplace and show a dark side, or at least a side less often seen. This would be a good place to start your reading of this author.

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