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Skin Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440211158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440211150
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,954,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This humorless novel about art punks in an unnamed present-day city is long on form and short on content. The main character, Tess Bajac, is an earnest young sculptor who lives for her work, so much so that readers may well long for her to do something besides make anther sculpture. She does all too rarely. Tess meets Bibi Bloss, a fey dancer, and they establish Surgeons of the Demolition, a performance art troupe whose shows combine Tess's mobile, menacing, robotlike constructions with Bibi's dancers and much fake blood. Koja devotes endless pages to details of their productions, and the vicissitudes of the protagonists' relationship have to suffice for drama. Their main source of conflict is Bibi's growing compulsion to mortify her flesh via piercing, tattooing and scarification. Readers will find it hard to relate to such a rarefied concern, especially since the roots of Bibi's obsession are never explored. Koja ( The Cipher ) has a considerable talent for evoking atmosphere, but her style, an obscurantist mix of stark minimalism and florid gush, further distances the characters from the reader and hampers the novel's already minimal movement. The ending is merely a jarring, long-overdue bit of business; on the whole the novel, like the art of the characters it portrays, is a sustained exercise in style over substance.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In horror novelist Koja's third novel, which explores the performance art scene, artistic vision evolves into dementia. Sculptor Tess Bajac agrees to incorporate her metal constructs into dancer Bibi Bloos's performance pieces, which include violence and tribal ritual. Bibi slowly draws Tess into an emotional and physical relationship that is overshadowed by Bibi's increasing preoccupation with transcending the limits of her body through cutting, scarring, and piercing. From the opening paragraph, Koja ( The Cipher , Dell, 1991) creates a gritty, claustrophobic, unsettling mood through heavily descriptive prose, engulfing the reader in a world of burning steel, aberration, and self-destruction. This is a dark and frightening work by a major talent whose prose reads like a collaboration between Clive Barker and William S. Burroughs. Highly recommended for contemporary fiction collections.
- Eric W. Johnson, Teikyo Post Univ. Lib., Waterbury, Ct.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Kathe Koja's SKIN is possibly the best horror novel ever.
Tracy Deaton
Picked up this book from a thrift shop intending to use the cover art in a collage.
M Jones (zero@inxpress.net)
For new readers, it's a beautiful introduction to her work.
E. Tappero

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I most faithfully believe that SKIN sets a standard by which all books of the "darker" genre should be measured. This book is indeed dark, but it is also incandescent. I am by no means an uncritical reader, so when I say that, page after page, SKIN had me breathless, touched, and completely floored, I sincerely mean it. Kathe Koja is a passionate, visceral writer, gifted with the uncommon knack for gorgeous and hallucinatory prose. Reading SKIN, I could not help but feel moved -- it seemed as though I had been waiting a long, long time to come in contact with something so extremely alive and so extremely rarefied - so unrelentingly beautiful - that, no matter how lame or drastic this sounds, I almost felt as if I were coming home to something; something unfamiliar yet completely familiar, something untouched that had been waiting to be touched, waiting patiently until given the proper stimulus: SKIN. No artist - in fact, no one, period - can afford not to read this book. It's raw, it's affecting, it's painful, it's profound -- the distillate of life compressed into 389 wonderful pages.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Terror on April 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Kathe Koja book I ever read, and it was not the last. This book was great on so many different levels. I loved the writing style, long sentences and all. I especially loved the characters, Bibi and Tess, and the secondary characters of the performance troupe - they were presented as true artists of the industrial culture, the ideas at the heart of industrial music and its fans, not poseur whiny kids in cute black clothes. (Aside from Koja, I recommend Poppy Z. Brite and Caitlin R. Kiernan for getting past cliches of kids in subcultures.) This book was real and raw and different. I don't think the author was trying to "push" homosexuality on a reader or exploit it for book sales. What do people want? A label on books that says: Warning: Contents May Offend or Challenge Your Sensibilities? That's what good books are supposed to do! If one wants a label that says the opposite, perhaps one should look for books with Koontz and Rice embossed nice and shiny on the cover.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By 3z13 on February 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Skin was my first exposure to Kathe Koja so many years ago in an advanced copy sent to the bookstore i'd worked at. labeled as horror, which was something i was moving away from, it hit a real raw nerve that had nothing to do with horror or fiction.

this was an aspect of the world i knew.

art and obsession colliding with the real world.

Tess and Bibi invaded my world. i wanted to hear the music used in the performances, i wanted the image of who they were, i wanted to smell the sweat, smoke and blood of the shows.

Kathe Koja showed real emotion, real connection, the real power of compulsion. no choice, you burn for your art. no choice you read because you must.

no chipper ending as most would provide, but palatable hurt that will linger.

find a copy, hardbound if possible. you will want it on your bookshelf.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ed cowell on June 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Koja explores the limits of flesh in SKIN,chronicling the
desire to transcend these limits in her own unique style.
This is a great modern novel concerning extreme body
modification and the physiological scars it leaves; it
is also an accurate look at underground culture. Koja is
one of our very best writers,and SKIN is a classic.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M Jones (zero@inxpress.net) on October 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Picked up this book from a thrift shop intending to use the cover art in a collage. Upon reading the book I was astounded that I had never heard of Kathe Koja up to that point. (Several years ago.) She is definitely the most under appreciated author of this generation. Skin is full on masterful prose and while I wouldn't recommend it to my mother, I have recommended it to most of my friends. Needless to say, the book is on my shelf, cover intact.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There isn't much to say about Kathe Koja's _Skin_ except this: read it. Read it now.
Sculptor Tess Bajac is looking for ways to pay the rent. Through a sometime boyfriend, she's introduced to Bibi, a performance artist who sees the potential for a collaboration between the two. They for a troupe and a friendship, and both warp, twist, and degrade, slowly but surely. Enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing, but even if there weren't, Koja's skill with the written word is so masterful that it wouldn't matter. The writing style is as bleakly compelling as the novel's subject. Worth finding and reading at all costs. The best horror novel ever written, and one of the five or so best books of all time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I already owned this as a physical book and returned to it often enough to want it on my Kindle, Ms. Koja has such a uniquely dark and deliciously disturbing voice that I find her utterly fascinating as an author. Here is a tale of art and artists, of obsession, of love and desire and the lengths that some will go to to find the edges of reality and push beyond the boundaries, no matter what the cost.
If you have not read Kathe Koja, you are missing a fantastic talent and I recommend you start here... but be warned, there are monsters in the dark places she takes us and the mirror can be uncomfortable to look into for too long.
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By Scarlett on April 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i read this years ago and lost my real book so was glad to find it on ebooks. this is not for the faint of heart. i mean it. this woman makes chuck palahniuk look like rebecca of sunnybrook farm...and i have never read anything like this before except another of her books. if you think you can handle ms. koja, she writes really really well, but be prepared. this is brand new territory.
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