Institut Ramon LLull

The Skin of the World

L'Altra Editorial, 2023
272 pages

La pell del món

The Skin of the World

Xavier Mas Craviotto

"An unforgiving contemplation of the attempt to comprehend family bonds forged in violence"

Two adult siblings watch over their moribund mother in the hospital. The daughter has returned to their small town after years in Paris, where she went seeking anonymity and distance. The son stayed with their mother, mirroring her codependence and fear. Neither sibling has healed from the drunkenness, cruelty, and violent demise of their father; they both live trapped in a cage of inherited rage and hatred. The skin of the world is the frontier we’ve constructed as a buffer from the world’s random hostility and violence.

This brutally poetic, fragmentary novel is written in the second person, divided into three voices—sister, brother, omnipotent narrator— and features therapy dialogues, automatic writing assignments, and even Rorschach blots. Craviotto experiments with form in order to interrogate how we construct our own personal narratives and underscore the ways in which we can continue to be haunted by the pain of abusive relationships and their corresponding complicity, even after the perpetrators have shuffled off this mortal coil.


Marta González
MB Agencia Literaria

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