A NORMAL SKIN by John Burnside


Email this review


With five poetry volumes and a novel (The Dumb House, 1997) to his credit, this Scottish-born writer continues to explore the darkness within the natural world and the difficulties in human relations. Burnside scatters the effluvia and offal of animal and insect throughout his homely poems about weasels, rats, foxes, and —road kill.— Searching for —order— and —reason—, he marvels at a woman’s handling of a dead snake (—Snake—); an owl released from netting reminds him of a difficult separation of his own, as does hitting a deer with his car on a dark road (—A Process of Separation—). Confronting loss—of his father, of his own —difficult and unrelenting love——the poet sees angels and ghosts but dismisses them as vapors. Occasionally insightful (in poems such as —Agoraphobia— and —Simon of Cyrene—), Burnside’s mostly drab observations more often take a nihilistic turn—he’s somber, when not just morbid.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-224-04286-6
Page count: 62pp
Publisher: Jonathan Cape/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998


FictionTHE GLISTER by John Burnside
by John Burnside
FictionTHE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINTS by John Burnside
by John Burnside
FictionTHE DUMB HOUSE by John Burnside
by John Burnside