Friday, 7 March 2014

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric

If you ever see a portrait of a nun, you should know she was a dead woman when it was painted.

It's nice when we are confronted with an opening line that provides some information that most people are not aware of. I had read this somewhere before, but nevertheless it is striking. It raises a question - is this about a dead nun? We are given further explanation:

Nuns may not have their portraits painted while they are alive, a nun's face being nobody's business, not even her own, not even her bother's.

There is not much conflict in this opening, but it is an usual thought, at least by today's standards and attracts attention. The next paragraph:

If I had known that fact when I set out to discover what had happened to my sister, I would have saved myself a voyage and a disease, and I might never have laid a hand upon a fatal book of human skin, making cannibals of my nine remaining fingers.

Thus we get the hint of conflict, a sister missing in action and a book of human skin, which would mildly interest most people. There is some preamble, but as this a first person narrative a little preamble is okay, as long as there is something interesting, something more than just saying, "Hey, here's a story."

First thing said:

"But you are one of us, young chap!"

Verdict: Pass

Rudy Globird

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