Auxiliary Skins, A Collection of Stories, is Canadian author Christine Miscione' first book. However, her work has been publish in numerous literary magazines and her story "Skin, Just" – which happens to be the first story of this book – has won the first place in the Vanderbilt/Exile Short Fiction competition in 2012.
Through her stories, Miscione explores the human body from every angle. Proper and improper bodily functions are examined and exposed without discrimination for once every judgment and social consensus is removed, this machine is glorious in its perfectly rendered imperfection. However, those auxiliary skins the author speaks of are not limited to the physical realm. Rather, they tell of these imaginary walls we build around us and that provide us with auxiliary life support. Through the characters' very physical experiences of discomfort and pleasure, the reader catches a glimpse of what is hidden behind those walls which protect their true selves. Despite their different settings, all the stories belong to this cohesive collection..
Speaking of this collection without mentioning author's amazing prose would be a crime. Miscione has a wonderful way with words; her descriptions are so vivid that they sometimes nauseate the reader. She has this uncanny power many great authors have to make you see exactly what she means, as if she's sharing images with the reader directly from her mind. It's worth mentioning as well that her metaphors are dead on and that her alliterations make you want to read her work out loud. Her scrumptious prose flirts with poetry which creates a haunting contrast with the often raw content of the stories. Her tales stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.
I truly enjoyed all the stories, however, I would have to say that my favourites were Skin, Just, Winter Immemorial, Herkimer and Lemon Tart. I realize this makes for almost half the book, but it's very difficult to choose. Do pick up a copy of Auxiliary Skins, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Want to know more about Christine Miscione? Don't miss the interview next week!