Contemporary Canadian Literature with a Distinctly Urban Twist

Anvil Press

Skin House
Best Novel, 2020 ReLit Award

Skin House

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  • us/world orders $20

Skin House is a story about two guys who end up in the same bar they started out in. Maybe they’re slightly better off than they were at the start. Or maybe not. One has a girlfriend though. They both have a little extra cash, enough to order nachos whenever they want to without going through their pockets first. They’re not dead, and that’s something right there. And they’re not arrested, which is the quite surprising part.

Skin House is also a story within a story, the narrator’s story, his process of “putting ‘it’ all down” … about writing a book that he’s going to call “Skin House”. It’s crude and funny, but it’s also soaked in loss and grief, and seemingly endless fuck-ups in the two-steps-forward, three-steps-back sort of way. Yet, a glimmer exists, a desire to make a better life in this comedy of errors is never far away. But, as our indefatigable narrator says, “Did you ever get to thinking that ‘down on your luck’ isn’t just an expression? And that what we need here is a bigger statement? Well, what I mean is that ‘down on your luck’ doesn’t quite cut it when bad luck has become a way of life.” And when the water’s at the door, it’s best to get paddling.


“Reading Blouin’s virtuoso performance is inspiring, clearly brilliant, but also a little disturbing because you start to wonder how some people get to be so darn gifted. … Blouin is the type of author who gets rave reviews because he is talented, a risk-taker, and so unlike anyone else you have ever read.”

“Take a few consecutive hours out of your life, and read, in one sitting, a book that is compelling, insightful and thoroughly unconventional. Creates vivid images revealed in the author’s beautifully lean and powerful voice. Scores of vignettes are drawn together into a single, breathless tale of endurance, like water droplets coalescing into a dark pool. Buy it.” — THE NATIONAL POST

  • Publication: August 30, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-77214-118-4
  • Pages: 318 pp.
  • Size: 5.25 x 8.25 inches

Michael Blouin has won the ReLit Award (Best Novel), been shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, the bp Nichol Award, the CBC Literary Award, and is a winner of the Diana Brebner Award and the 2012 Lampman Award from ARC magazine. He is the author of five previous books of fiction and poetry and his work has been included in several anthologies. He has collaborated on recent projects with poet Gillian Sze, film director Bruce McDonald, and poet and artist bill bissett. He has been published in most Canadian literary magazines including Arc, Descant, Branch, Dragnet, The Antigonish Review, Event, Queen’s Quarterly, Grain and The Fiddlehead. He is represented internationally by Westwood Creative Artists.

Books by Michael Blouin