Hair Side, Flesh Side
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Hair Side, Flesh Side

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A child receives the body of Saint Lucia of Syracuse for her seventh birthday. A rebelling angel rewrites the Book of Judgement to protect the woman he loves. A young woman discovers the lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. A 747 populated by a dying pantheon makes the extraordinary journey to the beginning of the universe. Lyrical and tender,...more
ebook, 217 pages
Published November 15th 2012 by ChiZine (first published November 7th 2012)
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Read because I try to read everything that the podcast Writer and the Critic review.

And damn, I am glad I did. So much lyrical, gorgeous writing in here, so many short stories that seem half poetry, half prose. So many vivid images that will linger with me (most notably right now, the woman who begins to peel her skin away to find a book inside). Seriously good.
This debut collection takes on big concepts like history, memory and art, but it does so through stories that are surprisingly funny, quirky, emotional and human. My favorite story "Sanditon" focuses on an editor who, in the midst of an affair with a famous author, discovers a lost manuscript of Jane Austen written on the inside of her skin. She then must negotiate the power balance of their relationship as they try to publish. The story plays well off another story, "Dead White Men", where a tw...more
I'm almost glad I didn't win this on the Goodreads Giveaways, because then I'd have to leave an actual review, and I don't think I can do that.

This book was wonderfully creepy, it sent chills through my body and had me guessing in some of the tales. My favorite was the story from which the book took it's title, where Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon was written on the inside of a woman's body. I connected the most with the story about Chaucer, because I have been to Oxford a few times and...more
Barry King
It's no secret that I'm a fan of Helen Marshall's fiction and poetry, although how to distinguisn the one from the other is a little difficult at times. I like to think that there is a little hard ball, like uncut diamond, all brillant and uncompressable in the eye-glint of true and shining madness. In all these stories, there is a flash of that light running like water on a hot skillet skittering the surfaces of reality, using the commonplace furniture of life to define the space in between.

David Teller
I found out about this book when Ellen Datlow listed it as one of the top collections of 2012, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed. Helen Marshall has a unique voice: her images are startling, moving between the tragic, the beautiful and the horrific. Her stories have a wicked sense of humour to them. A girl who finds a lost manuscript of Jane Austen on the inside of her skin? Amazing! Her writing reads as an amazing cross between Neil Gaiman's love of the dark and mythic, Jasper Fforde...more
Pop Bop
Disturbing, Elegant and Creepy

Here's the thing about anthologies, and about attempts to review, describe or comment on anthologies - well intentioned blurbers and reviewers give you one sentence summaries of the most remarkable stories, or even of each story. Depending on whether they liked the collection or disliked the collection they can easily make each story sound fascinating or tedious and derivative. The summaries are helpful, of course, and can be tasty come-ons, but they don't tell the...more
Nicholas Kaufmann
Surreal, literate, and filled with existential longing, this debut collection of stories by Marshall masterfully fuses the fantastic to the emotions of our everyday lives. Marshall's prose is exquisite and precise, her ideas refreshingly original. The last time I felt this much enthusiasm and astonishment over a collection of stories was when I first read Kelly Link. Whatever Marhsall writes next, I'll be first in line to read.
Susanne Braburn
One of the best short story collections of the year! Helen Marshall's got a really lyrical sense of prose writing that you can just fall into until -- WHAM! -- she hits you with the ending. A brilliant new writer to follow.
The strangest collection of short stories I have ever read. Well written, some of them grabbed my interest and didn't let go; others, not so much.

I got this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.
Just creepy/off-putting/unsettling enough for me. They are told in parable style, so I'm not sure I always "got" what the point was, but, for once, I didn't mind. Marshall is a truly good storyteller.
Victoria (vikz writes)
Just when I thought I had found my books of the year, this book arrives and blows many of them out of the water.
Some of the stories were gorgeous, if a bit meandering from time to time. Unsettling in the best ways. Recommended.
The summary of this book seemed to promise a collection of disturbing or bizarre short horror stories that were all unique and rather unusual from others I may have read. These weren't horror stories at all, to say the least, nor were they that disturbing or bizarre or unusual.

If I had to tell a friend about this book and retell one of the short stories, the first one would be the only one that'd come to mind, the one about the girl who received a stuffed saint for her birthday. It was a strange...more

Hair Side, Flesh Side is a lyrical short story collection ranging from slightly humorous stories to downright horrifying tales. What they have in common is that all of them are strange, and are somewhat related to the human body. It’s a loose thread though, considering I wouldn’t even place some of these stories under the same genre. It’s dark fiction, yes, but I would’ve preferred if I could classify all of them under ‘horror’ or ‘bizar’, not a mix-match of things. I was continuously looking fo...more
Questa è una raccolta estremamente peculiare: sembrano più "scuse per racconti" che racconti veri e propri. Mi spiego: non sarei in grado di riassumerne nemmeno uno, anche se quattro o cinque mi sono piaciuti immensamente e molte delle idee alla base mi intrigano, e tutte sono atipiche e intellettualmente stuzzicanti.
Ma forse è proprio l'eccessivo intellettualismo, la sensazione di terminare un racconto e di aver assistito solo a quindici pagine di esercizi di stile che me ne ha fatto stancare,...more
M Griffin
Many of the stories in Hair Side, Flesh Side, the debut collection of Canadian weird fantasist Helen Marshall, focus on books, libraries and manuscripts. Hair Side, Flesh Side presents a nice mix of straightforward emotions in realistic settings, balanced against off-kilter fantastic elements or surreal impossibilities. I love that these stories show great respect and affection for the world of literature, of books and stories, authors and libraries.
Lisa Hannett
A great debut collection! All of the stories are wonderfully bizarre and grounded in fascinating ideas, but the real treasures in this collection come toward the end of the book: 'Holding Pattern', 'Dead White Men' (my favourite) and 'Eternal Things' are absolutely brilliant, exquisitely written and so human it hurts. The final story, 'This Feeling of Flying', is stunning.
Helen is an amazing talent. This book is literary, gorgeous, magical, strange, sexual, and visceral. I would never have guessed this was a debut effort if I hadn't already known it. (Disclaimer: I work for the publisher of this collection.)
Not bad, just not my cup of tea. Sound writing, but some of these were like a joke I just didn't get.
Lydia Schlais
This was the strangest book I ever read!! It was really well written though, and I loved it!
Lisa Keipp
Taken me a while to read this - disturbingly odd sometimes needs to be set aside.
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Giveaways and Con...: US Giveaway for HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE 1 5 Nov 30, 2012 04:48AM  
Book Giveaways: Goodreads Giveaway starts today! 1 4 Nov 30, 2012 04:46AM  
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Helen Marshall ( is an author, editor, and bibliophile.

Her poetry and short fiction have been published in The Chiaroscuro, Paper Crow, Abyss & Apex, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and In 2011, released a collection of poems entitled Skeleton Leaves from Kelp Queen Press and her collection of short stories Hair Side, Flesh Side were released from ChiZine Publicati...more
More about Helen Marshall...
The Hanging Game The Sex Lives of Monsters Skeleton Leaves: A Collection Blessed: Short Story Sanditon: Short Story

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