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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Nalo Hopkinson, award-winning author of Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber, has released an impressive collection of short stories entitled Skin Folk. Hopkinson -- who was born in Jamaica and grew up in Guyana, Trinidad, and Canada -- delves into diverse world ranging from Caribbean folklore to fantastical horror to dark erotic fiction.
My favorite story was easily "Snake," the eerie tale of a serial child molester. The pervert, Stryker, goes to the park next to an elementary school every morning to watch the kids. He is a freak in every sense of the word. He is obsessed with cleanliness: He washes his hands over and over and has to clean his shoes inside and out as soon as he gets home from work. Every day, while he sits in the park watching the little girls, he also observes a group of seniors who practice ta'i chi, as well as an elderly couple who walk through the park and feed the birds. When he finally decides that he must add another little girl to his "collection," he gets an unpleasant surprise….
Short story collections give the reader an opportunity to experience a writer from several perspectives -- background, culture, visions, and philosophies -- and this anthology is no different. Hopkinson has a unique, poetic way of looking at the world. ("The pears looked like the bodies of plump, freckled green women.") And not unlike collections by authors such as Milan Kundera and Jerzy Kosinski, this collection offered me a glimpse into a culture I previously knew little about.
Not having read Hopkinson before, I didn't really know what to expect. However, I didn't expect the stories to be so well crafted and brilliantly written. Skin Folk gets my highest recommendation. (Paul Goat Allen)