- File Size: 351 KB
- Print Length: 120 pages
- Publisher: Kiana Davenport; 1 edition (November 30, 2010)
- Publication Date: November 30, 2010
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004EHZWJE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,968 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
HOUSE OF SKIN PRIZE-WINNING STORIES Kindle Edition
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Her writing style is extraordinary.
I started the collection in August 2013, and had a few breaks in between reading. It's the kind of stuff that's best read in small doses, spread over a few sittings, so you have a chance to absorb and savor the rich lyrical writing, as well as wrap your brain around some of the socio-economic issues, customs, beliefs and practices that these stories contain.
Each story boasts: an exotic setting, a universal theme, a female protagonist.
A warning: these stories are dark and depressing, each one in its unique and special way; raw and edgy, so they may not appeal to everybody. Read with an open mind and be prepared to venture outside of your comfort zone. They make you think about your own heritage, identity and individuality. Amongst other emotions, you may feel admiration, disbelief and discomfort.
The end leaves you with this simple question: how comfortable are you in your own skin?
She suddenly smiled. "I let him take me right then, like two lizards in wet grass."
An opium dream:
Then his fist was a warm, steady mass in my palm. We lay on our sides puffing and someone moaned above us in a dream. Soon the gum had burned away and Wu blew out the lamps. The sweet smoke clotted my lungs and I wanted to be sick. I tried to say this. To open my eyes. Form. The. Words. But I was massively adrift. Somewhere in the Gobi, a Mongol milked a singing horse. Caravans approached. Someone quietly removed my skin.
Setting the place:
We came from the rough tribes of Waianae, wild west coast of the island. Here, native clans spawned outcasts and felons, yet our towns had names like lullabyes. Makaha, Ma'ili, Nanakuli, Lualualei. In Nanakuli, a valley slung like a hammock between mountain and sea, I was born in a house known for its damaged men.
Most of these stories are told in the style of a very lucid dream; we as readers dip in and out of the narrators' minds. The use of omniscient POV is masterful. We'll get the sociohistorical information we need in a way that poetically enriches the story. She does in such a way that even dictionary definitions sound like a song.
The author is most familiar with Hawaii, obviously, but I think it's awesome that she's stretching geographically in this book, all across the Pacific, to places and cultures that are astonishingly diverse. People who live in grass huts and sleep with piglets have complicated stories just like the people who drive Lamborghinis. A lot of these stories are cruel, especially men being cruel to women or women being cruel to themselves, but they're all joyful in the way that they're told, if that makes any sense. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a style halfway between pulp and high literature, lurid and remote all at the same time.
The treatment of race and cultural hybridity is also incredibly rich, and from my perspective, spot-on. Like I felt this was speaking directly to me at several points. If you are a multi-racial/ethnic/cultural woman, these stories center you, absolutely.
In terms of the individual stories--I loved all of them. The only critical thing I can say about this collection is that the ebook formatting is terrible. Not to the point of being unreadable, but there are still many errors such as weirdly hyphenated words. Hopefully it will be rereleased eventually with cleaner formatting.
I'm moving on to Cannibal Nights now. This book was incredible and I recommend it to anyone who loves beautiful writing.
While these are stories that explore being a woman and being Polynesia, they are about so much more than heritage or feminism. They are about internal conflict and profoundly conflicted relationships. These stories will resonate with anyone who has ever felt torn by their own subculture, who has ever fled from something in themselves. If you have ever tried to salvage something from a destructive past, these stories will speak to you.
Davenport's voice--writing style--is unique to anything I've ever encountered. She sweeps you into lives of harsh reality for female characters in faraway places, immediately has you involved emotionally with the characters, and usually leaves you at the end of the story with a resolution for the character that leaves the reader satisfied at a conclusion, but often chilled at the conclusion that is foreign to, at least, most US readers' minds.
I recommend House of Skin to readers of all kinds, from those who occasionally pick up a book to those hard core readers devouring books by the dozens each year. No matter how much you read, I am certain you have never read someone's work as compelling or as unique as Kiana Davenport's.
The only thing I would change about them is the covers, which don't convey the professional polish of Davenport's writing. I think they may be holding her back from reaching the audience she deserves.
So, forget the covers and read the stories! They're worth every minute.
Most recent customer reviews
and everything that Kiana Davenport writes. Shark Dialogues remains my fav.Read more
Not for nothing Kiana Davenport's short stories gather prices everywhere and all around the globe.Shark DialoguesCANNIBAL NIGHTS Pacific Stories, Volume II and OPIUM DREAMS, Pacific Stories Volume III.
All three together in a gift box: Read more