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Tucked away in her tattoo studio in the port city of Halifax, Shaz draws meaning and symbolism onto the bodies of her clients. After the ransacking of her home, the brutal attack on her friend and the sudden appearance of her white father, Shaz is compelled to explore the racial divides in her life and in the city around her. A chance encounter with Rashid, a parkour-performing refugee from Sri Lanka, provides a stabilizing counterpoint to the tumultuous relationships in her life.
Ultimately, Shaz discovers the complexities of truth, the meaning of loss and how we are all coloured by our experiences. In a narrative that explores racism, family dysfunction and the experiences of refugees, Under Her Skin paints the canvas of our landscape, making us aware of who we are.
Stephen Law’s writing rings with compassion and curiosity—for his characters and about the human condition. His richly-peopled Halifax is infused with detail that brings this story to life.
— Stephanie Domet, author of Fallsy Downsies
A story of emotional challenges, family conflicts and fateful decisions that can happen in any community. Each character so vivid, I found myself wanting to be a part of their lives, helping them with their decisions or the challenges they were facing, journeying with them on their emotional roller coaster, wondering what would happen next. A must read!
— Barb Hamilton-Hinch, Dalhousie University
This is an engrossing story with a time signature all its own. With lovely lyricism, Stephen Law bravely imagines his way under the skin and into the heart of Shaz, a young tattoo artist struggling to reconcile old betrayals with new crimes, the demands of loyalty to her family with the terror of new love. A compassionate and thoughtful novel, it is shot-through with moments of breathtaking writing, as when Shaz witnesses a casual act of bigotry and wonders, “Was it living next to the sea that preserved old ideas?
— Semi Chellas, writer on The Romanoffs, Mad Men and The Eleventh Hour.