The Book of Human Skin Paperback – 5 Apr 2010
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'This book is fabulous - funny, horrific, subversive - in short a wholly addictive read. I don't think I have enjoyed anything as much since Perfume' Joanne Harris 'If it doesn't scoop all the prizes, we live in an unjust world. It's an absolute corker ... It's years since I enjoyed a novel this much - or felt such strong envy of an author for having the breadth and richness of imagination to create such a world' A.N. Wilson 'This is, essentially, a love story told by a delightfully riotous collection of characters and voices ... Fantastically gripping' Marie Claire 'A witty, exciting, over-the-top page-turner which becomes increasingly addictive... Quite unlike anything else around - and all the better for that' Daily Mail
This is going to be a little uncomfortable... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But I'd recommend reading it again anyway, just for the joy of the verbal pyrotechnics and the artistry that creates such evocative atmosphere. Lovric is already renowned for her powerful sense of place, but in this book personality breathes from the locations as tangibly as sweat oozes from the pores of the skin. Phantasmagoria worthy of Gormenghast but based firmly in a very real historical world, characters that speak in voices you'll hear in your head (and in your dreams afterwards), this book is a dazzling multi-media of a painting that combines the vision of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' (without the sentimentality of Little Nell) with the darkness of 'Justine'(without de Sade's salaciousness)and tosses the reader between light and dark, good and evil with the irritating effortlessness of a master.
This isn't a book for the emotionally squeamish, or anyone who doesn't enjoy digging below the skin of human experience. For anyone else it's simply unmissable. I will never forget it.
When you first start reading the book you are confronted with five characters introducing themselves in diary-style sections highlighted through changes in font. I was initially skeptical - other books I have read using this style have been jumbled and chaotic but Lovric mastered it! All of the characters had interesting sections and as much as I personally preferred those by Gianni and Sor Loreta there were none that dragged or failed to intrigue.
I did find the book uncomfortable, Minguillo's sections are truly sadistic and Sor Loreta's are positively frightful (to put it simply she is a beyond deranged nun) but at the same time they are strangely engrossing - I did have to put the book down in places to recover but I couldnt help but pick it up again five minutes later!
Cecilia Cornaro is a delightful character adding a dose of much needed wit - I only wish she was given her own voice in the story.
The only place I thought the book fell down was with Marcella's character. I didn't find her convincing and she didn't seem to portray the 'ferocious determination' outlined in the books blurb - throughout the story I wanted her to put up more of a fight. Realistically, I think anyone who has endured what she has would have shown more emotional development and a stronger resilience - I didnt find her wishing for Minguillo's survival after all of his tortures beliavable at all.
All in all it is a delightful read that will not fail to disgust and ensnare!
I really got into it and was enjoying it greatly. There were strong and interesting characters and the structure of the storytelling through a number of characters and short passages was a good device for making the book difficult to put down.
All was well until I guess about 2/3 of the way through when it seemed that the publisher or author had deccided that the book needed to be finished and it rushed to what I thought was a predictable and very implausible conclusion given the actions and characters developed so well in the rest of the book. Once I lost belief in the action it made me look back and question the rest of the book. Would character x really have done y, wouldn't they have done z? The disbelief I had suspended came to the fore.
The writer clearly loves research. The detail of a surgeon's life, or a nun's, or a woman's in Venice, really added to the enjoyment. Sometimes though it seemed a bit forced and things shoe-horned in. The characters, the wicked one, the surgeon and the faithful servant were well drawn, the heroine rather less so.
Perhaps the point it failed for me was when the romance came to the fore, or was it just when strong characters started to behave oddly, or rather random plot devices were thrown in - the lost will?
Anyway - worth a read but not a 4.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really enjoyable and atmospheric book - one you fly through to see what happens next. Good versus bad over a lifetime.Published 10 months ago by A Bone
Recommend by friend as a favourite book. Took a while to identify so many characters with hard to remember names.it is one to persevere with.Published 11 months ago by V. Smith
This book - I read this book and ever since I felt that every book has something missing in comparison. The language, the story, the passion, the revenge, the history and travel. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lily Lit
Loved every minute of it. Beautifully written.... A page turner.Published 12 months ago by Booklover24
Have read this at least 3 times now. It is such an entertaining read with a variety of believable characters from the sweet and innocent to the clearly insane! Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Book club choice - quirky and rather unpleasant in places. Good period piece.Published 14 months ago by Linda Peace
A fantastic story with twists and thickened plots! The best baddies. Anyone with a love of the renaissance will love this!Published 14 months ago by Mrs E.M.Allen
I thought it would be a little be more of a non-fictional "history of" (trust me to not read the blurb! Read morePublished 15 months ago by GlitteryNinja
Good Heavens! Michelle Lovric has a rich, inventive imagination, steeps herself in research, wears it lightly, and overflows with a kind of earthy vitality that seems to belong to... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Lady Fancifull