The Book of Human Skin, by Michelle Lovric

There are five narrators; an insane 18th century Venetian count, Minguillo Fasan; his sister, Marcella, whom he wants to kill; Marcella’s devoted manservant; her lover, a doctor of skin diseases; and a fanatical nun in a Peruvian convent.

The Book of Human Skin, by Michelle Lovric

The title is a fair indication of what lurks inside the covers of this book. It has been compared to Harris’s Silence of the Lambs, Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Süskind’s Perfume – but I have never read anything quite like it. There are five narrators; an insane 18th century Venetian count, Minguillo Fasan; his sister, Marcella, whom he wants to kill; Marcella’s devoted manservant; her lover, a doctor of skin diseases; and a fanatical nun in a Peruvian convent. It is about quack medicine, the plight of women and enduring love. It is multi-faceted, dense with historical detail, and absolutely gripping all the way. It will simultaneously creep you out and mesmerize you, and you will find, as Count Minguillo says just before he does something ghastly, that “this is going to be a little uncomfortable”. (Continue reading…)

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