Signed Editions Kathe Koja Skin

ISBN 13: 9780385308991

Skin

3.8 avg rating
( 732 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385308991: Skin

As a sculptor of metal, Tess is consumed with the perfection of welds, the drip of liquid metal, addicted to the burn. Her solitary existence ends when she meets Bibi.
A self-proclaimed "guerilla performance artist," Bibi pushes her body to the utmost in her dancing, sculpting it into a finely tuned machine. But the limits of her body frustrate her. With Tess, she creates a performance art of mobile, bladelike sculptures and human dance that becomes increasingly violent and dangerous.
Still this is not enough for Bibi. Her desire to grow and transform leads her to body piercing, then to ritual cuttings and scarrings. And further. Though Tess breaks their partnership, she cannot stop Bibi's dark exploration of the limits of her body. Her search is self-destructive, all-encompassing...unstoppable.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Torqued! Twisted, man, as the new Abyss line plunges forward with its plan to advance through the frontiers of psychological horror. Koja fulfills Abyss's hopes with a savage hymn to industrial culture--a first hardcover whose breakthrough originality is unique but will leave many fighting off its overload. Metal sculptor Tess Bajac's days are spent scrabbling through junkyards, scraping bucks together through odd jobs as a welder, and soldering poems in steel. Unlike many in the field, who shape abstracts out of found objects, Tess does her own welding. (Koja at times follows the imitative fallacy and welds scrap sentences into Burroughs-like cutup paragraphs that mimic her heroine's sculpture. Which can be hard on the reader.) Into Tess's life creeps Bibi, a dancer turned artist in body metal, blood, burns, scars, and pain. Tess longs for motion in her sculpture. Bibi brings it, making love-dances to the sharp-edged pieces that leave her ripped and bleeding. Together with some dirty young dudes and studs who are artists in explosives and weird soundtapes and strobe lights, they form a group called the Surgeons and put on Grand Guignol horror shows that make them famous among subcultures. Then Bibi's lover Paul is killed during one show, the Surgeons fold, and Bibi splits from Tess, who desponds. Later, even more beringed through all the lips on her body, Bibi returns and seduces Tess into her first lesbian tie. But Bibi is bent and invents endless injustices on Tess's part so that she can justify more scars, pain, and body metal. A strong stylist, Koja makes white-hot the pains of metal sculpting and draws a big picture of S&M bars and byways before bringing on her big show as Bibi decides to go all the way and, with razor and scalpel, just about get out of her skin--or help a friend out of his. Beyond the styptic pencil and safety blades. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

This humorless novel about art punks in an unnamed present-day city is long on form and short on content. The main character, Tess Bajac, is an earnest young sculptor who lives for her work, so much so that readers may well long for her to do something besides make anther sculpture. She does all too rarely. Tess meets Bibi Bloss, a fey dancer, and they establish Surgeons of the Demolition, a performance art troupe whose shows combine Tess's mobile, menacing, robotlike constructions with Bibi's dancers and much fake blood. Koja devotes endless pages to details of their productions, and the vicissitudes of the protagonists' relationship have to suffice for drama. Their main source of conflict is Bibi's growing compulsion to mortify her flesh via piercing, tattooing and scarification. Readers will find it hard to relate to such a rarefied concern, especially since the roots of Bibi's obsession are never explored. Koja ( The Cipher ) has a considerable talent for evoking atmosphere, but her style, an obscurantist mix of stark minimalism and florid gush, further distances the characters from the reader and hampers the novel's already minimal movement. The ending is merely a jarring, long-overdue bit of business; on the whole the novel, like the art of the characters it portrays, is a sustained exercise in style over substance.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Kathe Koja
Published by Delacorte Press (1993)
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Koja, Kathe
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