Total Stars out of 5: 3
This book really split opinion amongst our members, some of us really enjoyed it, read it quickly and had much to say about it, others couldn’t get into it at all and found the characters difficult to relate to.
The Book of Human Skin is thoroughly well researched and well written, you get to read from each characters perspective and the streams of the story are flawlessly held together. We are introduced to Venice and Argentina, their individual beauty and histories, which are superb and accurate.
There are actual books of human skin that are collected by the main protagonist but it is the Nun all the way in Argentina that brings real life to the statement. She puts her skin through such tortures that it tells her history far better than a document could. She abuses herself fanatically in her quest to become a saint.
The doctor also adds depth and history to the story of skin as he is fascinated by skin diseases and the causes.
The main plot surrounds a murderous power hungry brother determined to protect his inheritance at any cost, including killing his own sibling, institutionalising another sibling, our heroine Marcella, manipulating everyone who crosses paths with him and generally spreading fear and evil wherever he goes. Despite the difficulties Marcella faces she is ultimately triumphant and has that fairy tale happy ending.
We did all agree on one point though, that the ending felt rushed. The happy ending being so quickly brought together didn’t follow well with the rest of the book, a tragic ending would have been more suitable.