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book cover of House of Skin

House of Skin

A collection of stories by

From best-selling Hawaiian author, Kiana Davenport, comes HOUSE OF SKIN, her first collection of prize-winning stories, including The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and The Best American Short Stories of 2000 (selected by E.L.Doctorow.)

These are provocative, often shocking, tales of obsession, love, racism, addiction, betrayal, even murder, but told in such sensuous, richly-textured prose each story is rendered magical and timeless.

A young girl obsessed with her tattooed, Yakuza uncle wit-nesses his horrific ending. A woman is condemned to death for loving a man outside her culture. Two cousins learn the terrible toll of drug addiction. A boy with amputated legs is introduced to love by an older woman.

A girl of mixed-race heritage discovers her white father's racist background, and spends her life trying to 'run her genes off, like fat.' Two beautiful sisters, professional taxi-dancers, abandon their daughters, leaving them with no clues or codes on how to survive. A house of dysfunctional and wounded people are finally redeemed by the strength of love.

The stories are set in islands across the Pacific where the author has lived and traveled extensively - Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Fiji, Vanuatu - parts of of the world only barely ex-plored in contemporary literature. Davenport offers her readers not just mesmerizing writing, but also brings them bulletins from an ancient, yet seemingly brave, new world.


Of Davenport's writing, ALICE WALKER has said, "She ex-hibits the character great writers must have, passionate love of people, dedication to the memory of people who have suffered. You can't read Kiana Davenport without being transformed."

ISABEL ALLENDE has said, "Reading Davenport is an over-whelming experience. Her prose is sharp and shining as a sword, yet her sense of poetry and love of nature permeate each line."

A Sampling of Reviews of Stories in this Collection:

"The story, HOUSE OF SKIN, transcends the very good and achieves the beautiful. It describes what is essentially a love story between the uncle, aunt and niece. After the tattooed uncle finally dies comes an ending as appropriate and mortifying as any I have ever read."
- W.P. Osborn, Manoa, Journal of International Writing

"THE LIPSTICK TREE had a magical effect on me. The pro-tagonist's dream of a better life, and her determination to go to the furthest extremes to achieve it, is heroic. The price of freedom is mitigated with grievous loss and bittersweet victory."
- Thom Jones, author of Pugilist at Rest

"DRAGON SEED is a spooky tale of addiction and self-destruction."
- Jeff Yang, Reviewer, The Village Voice

"The haunting, junkie ecstasy of Davenport's DRAGON SEED
is both abhorrent and beautiful."
- Jessica Hagedorn, author of Dog Eaters

"Hypnotic and amazing tales. Her writing is astonishing. Along the way, we learn about important and under-represented cultures. BONES OF THE INNER EAR still haunts me, and I believe some of these stories will stand as long as there is written language."
- Tillie Olsen, author of Silences, Tell Me a Riddle



Used availability for Kiana Davenport's House of Skin

Kindle Editions

November 2010 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition

Author(s): Kiana Davenport
Publisher: Kiana Davenport
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA