Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson Aspect, December 2001, $12.95 ISBN 0-446-67803-1 Following her pioneering anthology of Caribbean short stories about the supernatural, Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root, Nalo Hopkinson, who also wrote Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber, weaves a different web of fabulist tales in Skin Folk.
In this collection of short stories of the fantastical, Hopkinson (see "Black Writers Bring a Different Perspective to Sci-Fi," page 28) shows the range of her storytelling talent. The 15 shorts span cultures from the Caribbean to Canada, with various themes that ask the question, "What lies beneath?"
Hopkinson herself provides "an apt metaphor to use for these stories collectively": "Throughout the Caribbean, under different names, you'll find stories about people who aren't what they seem. Skin gives these skin folk their human shape. When the skin comes off, their true selves emerge," she says. "And always, whatever the burden their skins bear, once they remove them--once they get under their own skins--they can fly."
Throughout her stories, Hopkinson deftly explores the twin themes of being bound and being free. In "Greedy Choke Puppy," three generations of soucouyants (clairvoyants) are haunted by both...