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Skin Folk

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  116 reviews
A new collection of short stories from Hopkinson, including "Greedy Choke Puppy," which called "a cleverly crafted West Indian story featuring the appearance of both the soucouyant (vampire) & lagahoo (werewolf)," "Ganger (Ball Lightning)," praised by the Washington Post Book World as written in "prose [that] is vivid & immediate," this collection ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Aspect
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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I think a short story collection can sometimes be a great introduction to an intriguing author. This was my first Hopkinson book. She is fascinating and a bit "freaky" (freaky as in weird and as in Rick James "Super Freak"). This was a book of short stories ranging from Caribbean folklore, to horror to science fiction. Her stories are sensuous, seductive and yeah a bit salacious as well. She is a gifted storyteller with a command of language many people would appreciate. (view spoiler) ...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Oh my god this was brilliant. This short story collection is sci-fi fantasy and has so much to say about gender, and the Gaze, and Nalo Hopkinson's writing is honest to god so good.

I think Hopkinson sums up this collection quite well in this interview:
As a young reader, mimetic fiction (fiction that mimics reality) left me feeling unsatisfied. The general message that I got from it was "life sucks, sometimes it's not too bad, but mostly people are mean to each other, then they die." But,
Nalo Hopkinson writes with an invigorating imagination, and an impressive breadth of subject matter and approach. These stories alternate between whimsy, horror, eroticism, and modern interpretations of Caribbean folklore. Not every story lands as well as the best of them, but the best of them are wonderful.
What an amazing collection of speculative short stories!

I almost loved this as much as Octavia Butler's collection Bloodchild, which is the best sf/fantasy short story collection ever, in my opinion.

Full review to come on Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian.

Here's the review!

I’ve really been spoilt by fantastic short story collections this summer, and Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson is no exception. When I say fantastic, I mean it in more than one sense: these stories are remarkable, especially wrapped
Bogi Takács
My review is now online on

Source of the book: Bought with my own money (Library book sale)
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Skin Folk",is an anthology of fifteen short stories based on Caribbean myth,culture ,tradition and folklore .Some of the stories are fabulist ,some have magical realism blended in ,some are based on folklore and some are pure science fiction.I will say that this is the best short story collection I have read this year and I am very happy to have discovered Nalo Hopkinson .
The writing is vivid,intense ,rich and creative . The reader can literally breath these stories.There were actually one or
While I didn't like all of the stories here, this collection gave me a good sense of Nalo Hopkinson's earlier writing style, and I can't believe it's taken me so long to read her work! Her work ranges from speculative fiction to almost regular fiction, with generous doses of Caribbean folklore, some Canadian flavour, and some somewhat explicit sex. A few of the stories made me uncomfortable, but these left me thinking:
-The Glass Bottle Trick
-Slow Cold Chick
-A Habit of Waste
C.S. Malerich
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Part of fantasy's appeal is that it takes you some place unfamiliar. Yet Ursula Le Guin has rightly criticized the bias of much fantasy literature to assume that characters ought to be white and the world ought to look like medieval Europe. Even contemporary fantasy reverts to the European fairy tale model so often that, while Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimms are awesome, I find myself craving something different. So browsing through my library's eBook collection, when the words "Caribbean ...more
It's hard for me to say whether the stories in this collection improved as I went along, or whether it just took me a while to grow used to the rhythms of Hopkinson's prose. The first five stories didn't do much for me; I found "Riding the Red" difficult to follow, "Money Tree" too obvious, "Something to Hitch Meat To" rambling, "Snake" cliched, and "Under Glass" too high-concept. But then, suddenly, things started to click. "Slow Cold Chick" and "Chase" both tell a story I've heard before, but ...more
This is a collection of fairy tale and folklore re-tellings in a modern form. True to the title the stories deal with characters who try to shed their skins or have to get accustomed to their skins in a metaphorical sense. The contributions range from subtle to explicitly sexual, from horror to SF (in small amounts). Each story is told in a daringly blunt voice, each character is down-to-earth and authentic (even the mystical ones). Nalo Hopkinson's writing style is one I dearly love, freed from ...more
This is an amazing collection. Nalo Hopkinson writes in gorgeous, vivid prose that manages to bring all of her characters and settings to life in only a few pages. My favorite story was "Fisherman," which non-coincidentally was also the queerest story of the collection.

Themes of skin, identity, and appearance play a major role in many of these stories, although the book spans a wide range of ideas and moods - creepy, erotic, hopeful, tragic. There are a number of beautifully ambiguous endings
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this short story collection!

Hopkinson centers this collection around Caribbean folklore, with some stories set in Canada following the lives of immigrants. Her writing is weird, but I like weird! She blends horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction--and she does it well.

In particular I liked "Riding the Red" and "Greedy Choke Puppy." Hopkinson just gets what fairy tales and folk tales are all about, which I would generalize as fear and sex. Most of her stories look at those two
Migdalia Jimenez
I don't usually like short stories but I absolutely adored this collection by one of my favorite authors, Nalo Hopkinson. In the vein of Octavia Butler, Hopkinson is a able to create wholly original science fiction/fantasy narratives that are rooted deeply in the lives of women of color. The tales in this book range from futuristic stories where racism persists in new forms, modern takes on fairy tales and disturbing narratives that are impossible to forget.
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Synopsis: “Throughout the Caribbean, [there are] stories about people who aren’t what they seem. Skin gives these folks their human shape. When the skin comes off, their true selves emerge. And whatever the burden their skin bears, once they remove it, skin folk can fly…”

My introduction to Nalo Hopkinson through this riveting short story collection was like an out-of-body experience.

Continue reading
Aug 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of well-written sci-fi/fantasy, thoughtful queer literature & devastatingly good writing
Although this collection is a little uneven, its best stories are powerful and sexy and indelible. Nalo Hopkinson is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful; her stories and novels mix postcoloniality, fabulism and queer studies in consistently entertaining and thought-provoking ways. I hesistate to make comparisons, but if you miss Octavia Butler dearly, and always sort of wish she was a little younger and Canadian/Jamaican and touchy-feely, Nalo Hopkinson's your woman. You should also read her most ...more
Andrea Blythe
Hopkinson's eerie and haunting collection of short stories influenced by her life and roots, both her Caribbean cultural heritage and her experiences living in Canada. With powerful, vivid prose, Hopkinson unveils strange, unsettling worlds in which an ordinary eggs give birth to strange, deformed monsters, glass storms cut up everything in their path, and trees take flight. Many of these stories explore darkness. "Snake" is an absolutely terrifying tale from the point of view of a child ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful short story collection. I loved the seamless jumps from realism to sci-fi to folklore. "Fisherman" came as a surprise, because it was very much erotica. Very well written, compelling erotica though.
I've been trying to branch out with the type of authors I read, and this was a wonderful change of pace. I picked it up because so many people compared Ms. Hopkinson to the late Octavia Butler, and I was not disappointed. I'll be reading more of Nalo Hopkinson in the future for sure.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, 2012, e-book
While there's a couple of stories that aren't re-tellings, the rest of the volume is nearly evenly split between Caribbean and European folklore. And even the European based tales had a heavy Caribbean flavor.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely adored this inventive collection of short stories. Hopkinson’s writing is very exciting to me and I look forward to reading more. In this collection she draws inspiration from Caribbean folklore, explores amusing turns of phrase, and turns tropes on their heads. A couple of these stories were surprisingly sexy, but those stories were no less hard hitting than the rest. Some of the stories made me work for them as the reader, but I found the rewards rich each time. Hopkinson crafts ...more
Dawn C
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: media-storytel
A mixed bag for me. Most of the stories I couldn’t really get into, and there was way too much gratuitous sex. I don’t care to read about sex between characters I don’t know or aren’t invested in, where there’s no build-up and release of tension, it’s as interesting as describing their wardrobe. I do love her writing, though, but perhaps she works better for me in novels where she gets to unfold fully.
DeAnna Knippling
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Short story collection influenced by Canadian-Carribean myths.

One of those cursed books of short stories that is entirely too short. I just liked this.

Recommended for fairy tale fans, and mythology fans.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to only one of the stories in this anthology- "Money Tree" on LeVar Burton Reads. In this particular story a brother and sister listen to Caribbean folklore about their family's connection to the water with a mamadjo/mermaid mother and a tale of lost pirated gold. This allegorical tale makes connections between greed and familial relations, and incorporates the transformative value of water with the sister in healing from her grief.
Feb 10, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: priority-reads
Read "The Glass Bottle Trick" on the Fantasy Magazine website. It's a bluebeard re-telling - and it's amazing - 5/5 stars. The setting and the way the culture immerses the story... the way the folklore is brought in... and the twist at the end - wow. No fainting heroine in need of rescue here. Her future may be uncertain, and we don't see how it turns out, but she thinks fast and with any luck it'll work in her favor.

I need to read more of this author's work - definitely bumping her up to the
Adam Hodgins
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, canadian
Good stuff, I just want to read everything Nalo Hopkinson has written.
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wcls
Oh, the language! The stories are good but the stories are spectacular with the language she uses.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Few things I've read in the last years were as creepy, as enjoyable, or as thoughtful as this collection of short stories.
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff
I usually prefer novels to short fiction, but these are some of the best short stories I've ever read.
Chrysten Lofton
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5.0 “Want all, lose all.”


Here's my take on the second (LIVE) May episode of Stitcher’s LeVar Burton Reads, and we’re gifted with “Money Tree” by Nalo Hopkinson.

If you follow my reviews, I’ve mentioned before having an occasional auditory issue with certain stories, where I can’t seem to retain what I’m hearing. It’s like zoning out, I guess, no matter how hard I try to focus, I keep disconnecting in the same exact line, over and over. Anyway, that’s what took me so long to get
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
The author is Caribbean-Canadian. Some of the stories that are heavily influenced by Caribbean folklore were semi-hard to understand stand which caused me to re-read a line or two for better understanding but everything else was easy to understand. There was also some, what I assume, Caribbean-specific words/objects used that I could only assume I got the meaning of. Either I understood them correctly or the weren't integral to the story plot because I still got the story.
I have no prior
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars. This is my first time reading anything from Nalo Hopkinson and it won't be my last. Skin Folk is a collection of short stories running the gambit from Jamaican influenced folk tales to science fiction elements, and everything in between. This collection is definitely something I will need to reread before I can really sit down and attempt to review these individual stories. Nalo Hopkinson's writing style is wonderful and very much alive. There's a certain rhythm to the spoken ...more
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Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born writer and editor who lives in Canada. Her science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

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