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Marble Skin Paperback – 21 Oct 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co. (21 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393331482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393331486
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
As the brief introduction on the back of this book states: this novel caused a great furore when it was first published in (the then) Yugoslavia. Drakulic is a Croatian feminist who is not averse to tackling intensely taboo subjects in an open and direct way. Marble Skin is just that.
Central to this book is the mother-daughter relationship, a theme Drakulic punctuates with stifled emotions. The whole tale has an oppressive claustrophobic feel suited to the dense and dark exploration of the subject matter. The protagonist, on creating an alluring nude sculpture calls it ‘My Mother’s Body’. This sets the ball rolling as the book then transports us back via a kind of stream of consciousness technique to various memories and past events that have been instrumental in bringing her to the point of this sculptured symbol.
We begin in childhood where the young girl comes of age yet her mother too experiences a kind of sexual re-awakening and therein lays the taboo. Maternal love is juxtaposed with sexual lust. The catalogue of events that follow, riddled with rape, oppression, blood, pain, conflict and profound reticence create a deeply poignant story altogether unsettling – but that is the point. This is a disturbing read, a tour de force of angst-ridden scenes that are powerfully compelling. The ending does achieve a resolution of sorts (between mother and daughter) though it does seem that the character development necessary to achieve that was somewhat lacking.
The prose is simple and at times eerily clinical. I think some of the poetic dimension could be lost in translation; which I don’t feel does the novel enough justice. I cannot vouch for this with any real certainty however…There is a lot of serious commentary going on here, beneath the overtly tormented surface. A disquieting but worthy read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sensitive novel beautifully written 18 Sep 1997
By lamon@ameritech.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Most literary sources describe writer Slavenka Drakulic as contemporary, feminist Croation writer. Although I am fluent in Serbo-Croation, I never read any of her work in her (and mine) native language. It was wonderful suprise to find out that even translation of Ms. Drakulic's work is absolutely wonderful: rich in language, symbolism and crafted with extreme female sensitivity.

Book describes complex mother/daughter relationship after husband/father suicide. Anyone familiar with eastern European culture knows that widows and divorcees with children are not a great "catch". One wonders if that is why mother in this novel decides to remain silent upon learning that her own daughter was raped by her stepfather. Is mother trying to keep her marriage going, since divorce would be a confirmation of her inability to keep the marriage alive - despite of her beauty, or is she keeping silent in order to preserve a certain respectability of her daughter? Even today, rape is sometimes hard to prove in the court. Complexity of the stepdaughter/stepfather relationship makes this case even harder. So, this wonderful, powerful novel describes the conflicts between mother and daugher in the most unusual way - through daughter's work as a scupltor and mother's attempted suicide.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Too disturbing for most readers 24 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Written in a claustrophobic, stream-of-consciousness style, this is a portrait of a young woman deeply damaged by emotional and physical incest. The broken chronology and distorted perceptions make the reader feel as confused as the protagonist herself. I had to force myself to finish reading the book. It might have been worthwhile if there were some character development and resolution of the protagonist's psychological problems. Instead I was disappointed by an apparent happy ending that seemed forced and unbelievable. Marble Skin may be well-written (apart from the contrived ending), but it's certainly not enjoyable reading.
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