Title: The Skinny Girl
Author: Lucius Shepard
In: Naked City (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Death, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 17th December 2019
Format: Short story
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
5th sentence, 74th page: No, it’s rather that he has yet to reach the point where life tips over into death, where the need for what she offers (be it surcease or something more graspable) outweighs everything else.
When a photographer of the dead meets the skinny girl, he must finally face up to his obsession with death. But is she the real thing, or just a mimic? Only time will tell
I have a bit of a fascination with death and the macabre. However, I wouldn’t call it an obsession. I don’t hunt it out and I only truly appreciate it when the information is… well, there. But there are some people who have this obsession, and then there’s the character in this short story who just goes beyond what I would call an obsession to a whole new, fascinating realm. Also slightly disturbed, but the writing is so good that I choose to find it fascinating.
There is a bit of a Latin American theme threaded through this story. Specifically with the use of The Skinny Girl – I can’t remember what the other name for this death deity is. It was a nice departure from the normal mythos which I came across in my reading. Mostly they tend to briefly mention Latin America and then gloss over to the next cultural interest. It was nice to stay a little more (but not completely) immersed in one.
Although this story is about death, one’s obsession with it and their ultimate surrendering to the long night, I actually found this kind of poetic and sweet. Maybe because that’s a bit of my view of death anyway, it’s not necessarily a dark and horrible thing. Having said that, as romantic as I found this (in an abstract way), it is still a kind of dark story. One that I look forwards to reading again.