Thick Skin by N/A Oparah
NORMALLY $18 - DISCOUNTED FOR SMOLFAIR
Special pre-sale price until 3/2021
After Nneka, a young Nigerian-American, is dumped and abandoned by her partner Jacob, she undertakes a ritual of thickening her skin physically and spiritually—with mud, knives, tweezers, and a questionable form of therapy. Nneka’s healing process is as layered as the emotional abuse of her interracial relationship and embodies all the ways we hide, obsess, flail, fail, and finally carve our way toward feeling and healing. This heavily metaphorical novella, inspired by the author’s experience, mines meaning from memories and half-lived moments. Told in vignettes, from the perspective of a someone-turned-no-one, it grapples with the question: who’s responsible for the wreckage?
Cover art by Nkiruka Oparah & N/A Oparah
- Opal Palmer Adisa, author of 4-headed Woman and Love's Promise
"N/A Oparah’s fragmented language makes vividly intimate the ways an abusive relationship destroys identity while also leaving a stain of longing. Thick Skin’s vulnerability and honesty bring the reader into the arduous process of literally rebuilding her body, allowing us to hide and heal with her beneath layers of mud and language. Oparah’s use of the second person makes the reader feel complicit in her trauma while also identifying with the relationship that haunts the pages. This poetic novel is a work of beauty that shatters the reader as much as it does the narrator."
- Dana Green, author of How to Carry Scars and Sometimes the Air in the Room Goes Missing
In the earthquake, the picture you painted was the first thing to fall. It caught on a caked corner of my neck. When I woke, I finished ripping it off. It tore like clay: slow motion, jagged, dense. I twisted the false skin in circles to slice it completely.
This made me sweat. A wetness underneath my new layers. I ignored the itch. Disposed of this piece of me in the outside bin.
Back inside, I cleaned off the picture frame. Removed the dirt. Removed the blood and hung it higher up above my headrest, using one less nail this time.