Second novel from the composer and author of the brilliant Swansong follows genderqueer protagonist Matty, a bewildered 11-year-old child whose Irish father Joey disappears suddenly from their Golders Green home in 1985, abandoning Matty and mother Rosa. Fourteen years later loner Matty is driving around Ireland in a battered campervan, wild swimming in freezing loughs and searching for clues about what happened to Joe, when a violent event knocks everything off course. A compelling, well-crafted tale about identity and the lasting loss felt when a parent disappears.
Writer and musician Kerry Andrew’s second novel, Skin, is an atmospheric creation. It follows young Matty, an introverted kid from north London, whose father disappears one day. Matty is convinced that he’s killed himself, drowned or been murdered. However, there are no answers from Matty’s brittle mother, Rosa, or from the wider community, and Matty seeks solace – and clues – in Hampstead’s swimming ponds.... The overall register is one of soft loneliness. But, as befits its title, Skinsucceeds on sensation and on Matty’s perceptions, which flicker with melancholy. Matty’s ambivalence and yearning, and the book-long search for answers and security, combine to make Skin a thoughtful read.
Inspired by myths and folklore, this evocative and sensitive tale is grounded by the authentic complexity of its characters. And while certain revelations come as no surprise, Andrew’s idiosyncratic descriptions are often inspired.