Skin is the border of our body and, as such, it is that through which we relate to others but also what separates us from them. Through skin, we speak: when we display it, when we tan it, when we tattoo it, or when we mute it by covering it with clothes. Skin exhibits social relationships, displays power and the effects of power, explains many things about who we are, how others perceive us and how we exist in the world. And when it gets sick, it turns us into monsters.
In <i>Skin</i>, Sergio del Molino speaks of these monsters in history and literature, whose lives have been tormented by bad skin: Stalin secretly taking a bath in his dacha, Pablo Escobar getting up late and shutting himself in the shower, Cyndi Lauper performing a commercial for a medicine promising relief from skin disease, John Updike sunburned in the Caribbean, Nabokov writing to his wife from exile, ‘Everything would be fine, if it weren’t for the damned skin.’ As a psoriasis sufferer, Sergio del Molino includes himself in this gallery of monsters through whose stories he delves into the mysteries of skin. What is for some a badge of pride and for others a source of anguish and shame, skin speaks of us and for us when we don’t speak with words.