The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric

Reviewed by
July–August 2010, no. 323
Melinda Harvey reviews 'The Book of Human Skin' by Michelle Lovric

The Book of Human Skin

by Michelle Lovric

Allen & Unwin, $32.99, 500 pp

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric

Reviewed by
July–August 2010, no. 323

The Book of Human Skin details the trials and tribulations of an innocent Venetian noblewoman named Marcella Fasan, a girl ‘so sinned agin tis like Job in a dress’, Gianni delle Boccole, loyal family servant and bad speller, explains. Marcella’s principal antagonist is her older brother Minguillo, who, out of filial jealousy and a desire to be the sole heir to the family’s New World fortune in silver, makes her a prisoner, a cripple, a madwoman, and a nun. Think Jacobean tragedy meets Gothic novel, then add some – namely a crazy Peruvian nun called Sor Loreta, who, in between fasting and self-flagellation marathons, terrorises the saner sisters at the convent of Santa Catalina in Arequipa. It is these four characters – Gianni, Marcella, Minguillo, Sor Loreta, plus the kindly Doctor Santo Aldobrandini, a specialist in skin and its maladies – who, unbeknown to one another, take turns narrating this novel.

Melinda Harvey reviews 'The Book of Human Skin' by Michelle Lovric

The Book of Human Skin

by Michelle Lovric

Allen & Unwin, $32.99, 500 pp

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