New release! From a National Book Award finalist and a powerful literary mind, an incisive new work examining capitalism's toxic creep into the land, our bodies, and our thinking.
For Jenn Shapland, the barrier between herself and the world is porous; she was even diagnosed with extreme dermatologic sensitivity--thin skin. Recognizing how deeply vulnerable we all are to our surroundings, she becomes aware of the impacts our tiniest choices have on people, places, and species far away. She can't stop seeing the ways we are enmeshed and entangled with everyone else on the planet. Despite our attempts to cordon ourselves off from risk, our boundaries are permeable.
Weaving together historical research, interviews, and her everyday life in New Mexico, Shapland probes the lines between self and work, human and animal, need and desire. She traces the legacies of nuclear weapons development on Native land, unable to let go of her search for contamination until it bleeds out into her own family's medical history. She questions the toxic myth of white womanhood and the fear of traveling alone that she's been made to feel since girlhood. And she explores her desire to build a creative life as a queer woman, asking whether such a thing as a meaningful life is possible under capitalism.
Ceaselessly curious, uncompromisingly intelligent, and urgently seeking, with Thin Skin Shapland builds thrillingly on her genre-defying debut ("Gorgeous, symphonic, tender, and brilliant" Carmen Machado), firmly establishing herself as one of the sharpest essayists of her generation.
By Jenn Shapland. Hardcover. 289 pages. Published by Pantheon, 2023.