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Skin Reviews

Skin by E.M. Reapy


E.M. Reapy

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Head of Zeus
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 8 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781789540949

Self-loathing and ill-at-ease with herself and her place in the world, through her encounters and experiences overseas Natalie metamorphoses into a more confident, assured individual.

2 stars out of 5
Sarah Gilmartin
10 Aug 2019

"An evocative depiction of the backpacking life"

There’s a touch of the difficult second album syndrome to EM Reapy’s Skin. Her debut, Red Dirt, was a gripping, beautifully written novel that charted the lives of young Irish immigrants in Australia... Reapy [...] has a lot to live up to with her second novel, and the book doesn’t quite deliver on its promise. A slack structure is part of the problem. The 12 titled chapters fall somewhere between interconnected stories and novel, an issue that is exacerbated by the changing locations. Some chapters – Laundry and Bridge – are too slight to feel like stories. Others, such as the penultimate chapter, Skin, work as vivid pieces in their own right but don’t quite fit with the overall narrative arc... Some sparkling scenes, particularly an edgy encounter with an older French man, get lost amid the repetition and neurosis about food and her body... Where the book succeeds is in Reapy’s depiction of the backpacker life... The book’s takeaway is that travelling has made its heroine a stronger person, or as Natalie puts it in her own distinctive way: “‘Travel forced me to be my own friend because it was too fucking lonely not to be.’ ”