Rezension zu "Skin: a searing dystopian adventure about a plague that forces all humans into QUARANTINE... (English Edition)" von James William Brown
Facing a much more deadly virus than we do at the moment, in 'Skin' all people have to live in total isolation from each other, because human skin has become the host of the contagion. This is the story of Angela and her family - each living isolated in a separate room of the house, only allowed to go outside in complete protective gear, and even then only to fetch the new food delivery from the tent attached to their front door. They only communicate with and see each other via computer, mostly to meet for virtual family meals. The children developed strange routines of their own, almost becoming strangers to Angela.
When Angela joins a neighborhood watch, she is allowed to leave her house and roam the streets for a couple hours each fortnight, having to report all unusual occurrences. When one day she spots a human without a protective suit, she decides to keep this observation to herself and investigate further. How comes this boy hasn't fallen ill or died yet? Is he immune to the virus?
From here on, the story - and Angelas life - slowly spirals out of control. Angelas daughter secretly followed her outside, her son turns into some sort of cyber terrorist, first harrassing his sister, then exposing secret information of his father's work, which also is very different from what Angela expected him to do. And Angela herself changes as well, questioning the on-going quarantine.
This is a very different kind of family story, but still showing familiar signs, like the rebellious kids and the motherly worries of Angela whose priority to protect her family is slowly overturned in the face of events.
Though the story was told from Angela's POV, the writing had a detached feeling to it, even in her most emotional moments. Surprisingly, I appreciated that quality very much, as it prevented the story from becoming too melodramatic and perfectly fitted the sterile isolation the protagonists were forced to live in. While Angela made some questionable decisions, they were still comprehensible considering the extreme situation she lived in. This was an unexpectedly fascinating and surprising read.
(thanks to netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book, all opinions are my own)