Tales of the Tattooed: An Anthology of Ink

Edited by John Miller. British Library, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7123-5330-4
In this remarkable anthology, Miller brings together 13 classic and forgotten tales centered around tattooing, all written between 1882 and 1952 and offering readers a glimpse into the superstitions and supernatural forces associated with the art of body modification. The tone of these tales varies broadly, from whimsical surrealism—as in Roald Dahl’s standout “Skin,” a quirky story of a man whose back tattoo may be worth more than his life—to erotically charged odes to the pain involved in tattooing—as in Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s “The Tattooer,” the dark, sadistic tale of a famed Japanese tattoo artist who fantasizes about “creating a masterpiece on the skin of a beautiful woman,” only for that dream to come back to bite him. James Payn’s powerful “Two Delicate Cases,” the oldest story on offer, sees a doctor tasked with removing two clients’ unfortunate body modifications. In brief introductions, Miller offers helpful historical context and draws out the otherworldly themes of each tale. Ink enthusiasts should snap this up. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/22/2020
Release date: 07/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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